Cape Town: Sri Lanka will need to dig deep and overcome the absence of two key players to get the better of South Africa in the third and decisive Twenty20 International at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday.
South Africa won the first match at Centurion by 19 runs in a match that saw the game reduced to 10 overs per side due to rain. The second game at Johannesburg, however, was a low-scoring game.
Sri Lanka, through skipper Angelo Mathews’ unbeaten fifty, ensured victory by 3 wickets and stayed alive in the series. Mathews was limping during his innings and as a result will not play the final T20I. His injury also coincides with the birth of his child and Sri Lanka Cricket said that Mathews had taken prior permission to fly back home.
Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep and batsman Danushka Gunathilaka have sustained injuries and as a result, they too will fly home. Pradeep injured his hand in the first T20I and Gunathilaka has been complaining of back problems.
On otherhand, South Africa have no such problems and have a full squad to pick from. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi’s excellent show in the couple of games has earned him a call-up to South Africa’s ODI squad.
In the first game, he finished with figures of 2 for 12 in 2 overs, at a time when Sri Lanka needed over 12 runs an over to win the match. He almost handed South Africa an improbable win in the second game as well. He finished with 4 for 19 in 4 overs, but could not prevent Sri Lanka from successfully chasing down 114.
The second T20I was also an excellent game for Lakshan Sandakan. He picked up 3 more wickets after that and returned with 4 for 23. Fast bowler Isuru udana with 3 wickets too was right on the money.
The T20I series will be followed by the five-match ODI showdown which will start on January 28 at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
South Africa: Farhaan Behardien (Capt.), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, JJ Smuts, AB de Villiers
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt, wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thikshila de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana.
Wednesday January 25, 2017 (D/N)
Start time 18:00 local (16:00 GMT)