2017 ICC Champions Trophy: Sri Lanka v South Africa: Everything you need to know
South Africa may have lost their one-day international series to England prior to the ICC Champions Trophy but AB de Villiers insists there are still reasons to be confident ahead of their tournament opener against Sri Lanka.
The Proteas were beaten in the first two matches of the series with England but were able to gain a measure of revenge at Lord’s in the final encounter, dismissing their hosts for 153.
A half-century from Hashim Amla helped lay the foundation for a seven-wicket win, and De Villiers believes his side are well-placed for the Champions Trophy.
“We’re still ranked the number-one team in the world going into the tournament, so there’s reasons for us to be confident,” he said.
“But we’re still humble at the same time and know that we have to work hard and take it one step at a time to win this.”
They face a Sri Lanka side struggling for confidence after warm-up defeats to Australia, New Zealand and Scotland, and they are likely to be without skipper Angelo Matthews at The Oval.
The Oval looking ahead of the Proteas opening #CT17 match tomorrow pic.twitter.com/jjxZSeIHsi
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 2, 2017
South Africa are blessed with star batsmen in the shape of Amla, De Villiers and Quinton de Kock, but the return of leg-spinner Imran Tahir from a hamstring injury could be crucial to their bowling line-up.
With Mathews expected to miss out with a calf injury the attention will turn to Upul Tharanga to lead the side upon the return of Lasith Malinga – the swing bowler having not played ODI cricket since 2015.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga (captain), Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedara, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga
South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (captain), JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir
Happy 30th Skipper @Angelo69Mathews! We wish you a full and fast recovery! pic.twitter.com/vChuTqe4VJ
— Sri Lanka Cricket (@OfficialSLC) June 2, 2017
LAST ODI MEETING:
South Africa have won 34 of their 65 ODI matches against Sri Lanka, including in their most recent meeting in February.
Centuries from De Kock (109) and Amla (154) laid a solid foundation as the Proteas amassed a massive 384-6 in Centurion.
In reply Sri Lanka came up 88 runs short, Asela Gunaratne’s unbeaten 114 not enough to secure a win.
“I would love to get my hands on it [the trophy]. It feels good in my hands. I would love to take that home one day.” – De Villiers has got his sights set on silverware.
“He [Malinga] has been our leading bowler for many years and we missed him. He is very keen to return to ODI cricket and we are looking forward to him performing again.” – Mathews relishing the return of Malinga.
– South Africa have won their last seven ODIs against Sri Lanka, four of those coming when batting first (all by at least 40 runs) and three when chasing (all by at least 7 wickets).
– This will be the fourth time these sides have met in the Champions Trophy, all three games have been won by the side batting first with South Africa winning the first two games but Sri Lanka the most recent encounter.
– Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have both hit 24 ODI centuries in their careers, more than anyone else for South Africa, only five players from any country have managed more tons than this.
– Lasith Malinga has 22 wickets in the Champions Trophy, only two bowlers have taken more in the competition (Kyle Mills 28, Muttiah Muralitharan 24).
– Wayne Parnell is six wickets shy of reaching 100 ODI scalps and a six-wicket haul would signify career best figures, his current best 5-48.