The world no 1 South Africa are all set to take on the weak looking Sri Lanka in the game number 3 of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on June 3 at The Oval. After two matches of group A, this face-off is going to be the first of group B. Ahead of the game, both the sides have to gain their momentum back as they had disappointing performances in their respective previous games. South Africa, who are at the top of the ICC ODI rankings, have recently lost the 3-match ODI series against England by 2-1. Whereas the Sri Lankans failed to win any of their practice games held in last week. At this note, both the sides have to pull up their socks for their first game in this grand event.

Sri Lankan Side

The team has been seen struggling a lot in the recent times. Meanwhile, it’s being speculated that skipper Angelo Mathews might miss the first game due to a calf injury. However, Vice Captain Upul Tharanga may replace him and lead the Lankans. Mathews’s absence may hamper the team composition a bit as his recent knock (95 off 106 deliveries) against Australia in the first warm-up game helped the team massively.

Now in a such a condition, the team management has to put their brain on the treadmill so that they could come out with the best possible option. The batting order starts with the players like Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal. These batsmen have the potential to play big shots but they need to come up with a full proof plan to execute on the ground so that higher numbers could be put on the board.

Previously,  in the run-up to the tournament, the Sri Lanka team’s form has been far below par, especially after the shocking loss to minnows Scotland.

But the return of Lasith Malinga may work like a blessing in disguise for Sri Lanka as his skills still make him the furious bowler of the squad. Also, in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, Malinga was considered as one of the key bowlers in the squad. Also, spinner Lakshan Sandakan could turn out to be an effective element.

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Protea Picture

A big team with several world-class names in the list but still need to create a greater impact on the international platform. The batting order could be the most destructive in the world with skipper AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, wicket-keeper Quinton de Cock, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla. These players undoubtedly can change the game anyway and make it tough for the opponents.

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In the bowling department, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir are the men who will be hunting in pairs. Followed by Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, the Protea bowling attack looks too sharp to go for lethal attacks.

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Past Encounters

So far, Sri Lanka and South Africa have faced off each other 3 times in the Champions Trophy. South Africa took the games in 1998 and 2006 games while the Sri Lankans defeated them in 2009. The win ratio is 2:1.

Squads

South Africa: AB de Villiers (Captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Faf du Plessis, J.P. Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Farhaan Behardien, Morne Morkel.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Upul Tharanga , Niroshan Dickwella (wicketkeeper), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal (wicketkeeper), Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna.