March 28, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1400 GMT)
An injured Angelo Mathews was left fighting a lone battle against England, and could miss Sri Lanka’s final game of the tournament © Associated Press
There were no visible tears when Sri Lanka were knocked out of the World T20, but to see Angelo Mathews and his men speak, and to read their tweets the next day, there is clearly some hurt. More than one member of the team has expressed a feeling of letting “the whole country down”. As doomed as this Sri Lanka campaign had always seemed, pain still struck when failure became tangible. For someone like Mathews, this is the first time in his career the team is exiting a world tournament before the knockouts have begun.
South Africa’s exit was not as dramatic as their penultimate-ball loss to New Zealand in the World Cup last year, but they will be no less affected. Players like Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers are into their 30s now, and have limited chances to taste big-tournament glory – particularly now that the World T20 has switched to a four-year cycle. This time, at least, they will be saved the “chokers” tag. Despite their hoard of monumental talents, South Africa just did not get going in this tournament.
As each team attempts to pick itself up to play for pride, South Africa do appear the better team. Sri Lanka’s top order did not play seam well against England, which is a weakness the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, and – if he gets a game – Dale Steyn could exploit. With so many South Africans in the IPL now, it is difficult to say which team will be more comfortable in these conditions.
Sri Lanka also have a little more than their self-esteem on the line: they are looking to snap their seven-match losing streak against Full-Member opposition.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa: LWLLL
Sri Lanka: LLWLL
In the spotlight
In an up-and-down few months for South Africa, Imran Tahir has been among their most consistent performers. He has taken five wickets in his three games this tournament, and was excellent against West Indies, returning figures of 13 for 2. Sri Lanka’s right-handers have not fancied legspin in recent months, and what’s more, some of the players in this team will have bad memories of last year’s World Cup quarter-final in Sydney, which Tahir had excelled in. His bowling may define Sri Lanka’s middle overs.
Picked, then dumped, then picked again, Jeffrey Vandersay has come into the side and been perhaps the find of Sri Lanka’s woeful tournament. He was outstanding against West Indies, delivering four gripping overs on a turning track. Though his control was slightly wonky in the next match, he still took 2 for 26, and showcased a venomous googly. A third good performance in a row will give the team and its fans hope that the future can be brighter than the present.
South Africa may give Farhaan Behardien a match, with Aaron Phangiso also likely to retain his place. David Wiese could be rested.
South Africa (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis (capt.), 4 Rilee Russouw, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 David Miller, 7 Farhaan Behardien, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Aaron Phangiso, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir.
With Angelo Mathews likely to be ruled out with a hamstring injury and Dushmantha Chameera also having sustained a blow to a finger, both are likely to be left out for the dead rubber. Dinesh Chandimal is the likely replacement captain. Suranga Lakmal and Shehan Jayasuriya are likely to come into the XI.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Dinesh Chandimal (wk)(capt.), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Milinda Siriwardana, 4 Lahiru Thirimanne, 5 Chamara Kapugedara, 6 Shehan Jayasuriya, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Dasun Shanaka, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Jeffrey Vandersay, 11 Suranga Lakmal
Pitch and conditions
There was a little slowness to the Kotla surface on Saturday evening, but batsmen who had their eye in were also able to play their shots. The weather is not expected to impede play.
Stats and trivia
- South Africa have won three T20Is and lost two against Sri Lanka. Their World T20 head-to-head is even, at 1:1.
- Of batsmen who only played in the Super 10s stage of the tournament, Quinton de Kock has the highest run-tally, of 144 from three innings.
- This is only the second time in six World T20 tournaments that Sri Lanka missed out on a knockouts spot. The other occasion had been in the inaugural tournament in 2007.
“We’ve got a lot to play for. You never want to leave the World Cup on a bad note. We are hoping we put things back together and come up with a good victory.”
South Africa batsman Hashim Amla
“This year it was helpful for spinners. A lot of spinners have done well – especially the leg-spinners. Though we are out of the competition, we fight hard – that’s the Sri Lankan spirit.”
Sri Lanka legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay on his own form, and the team’s outlook
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo