In the biggest game of the contest so far, hosts Sri Lanka are set to clash with South Africa, on Saturday, September 22, at Hambantota.
Both teams have registered handsome wins against Zimbabwe, the third team in Group C, Sri Lanka by 82 runs and South Africa by 10 wickets, and Saturdayâ€™s game will help decide the group leaders.
Sri Lanka will rely on the big three, Dilshan, Sangakkara and skipper Mahela Jayawardene, to deliver against a rampant South African attack that contains the likes of Steyn, Morkel and Kallis. The hosts have a reliable lower middle order with youngsters like Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis having proved their mettle. Arguably the biggest cog in the Sri Lankan wheel will be their all-rounder Angelo Mathews whose exploits with bat and ball could well determine how for Sri Lanka go in the competition. Sri Lanka could draft Chandimal to replace Munaweera, who opened creditably against Zimbabwe. That change could cause Jayawardene to take the vacant opening slot with Chandimal ensconced in the middle-order.
A good showing by Ajantha Mendis in the opening game augurs well for Sri Lankaâ€™s bowling attack which has a settled look about it, with reliable seamers in Malinga, Perera and Kulasekara and all-rounders in Mathews and Jeevan Mendis giving them additional bowling options.
South Africaâ€™s batting appears ominous with openers Levy and Amla showing great form against Zimbabwe, and the likes of Kallis and De Villiers and Duminy to follow in the middle order. It will be interesting to see how the young middle-order batsman, Farhan Behardien, who did not get to bat against Zimbabwe, shapes up. Albie Morkel and Petersonâ€™s all-round credentials should hold the lower middle order together. A batsman of Johan Bothaâ€™s calibre coming in at number nine in the order speaks for the depth of the batting at skipper De Villiersâ€™ disposal.
The bowling is well served in the pace department and Steyn and M Morkel will be a handful for rival batsmen, well supported by Kallis and M Morkel. The spin department is a bit thin with either Botha or Peterson likely to play but that might not matter too much in a game restricted to 20 innings a side.
Sri Lanka will bank on home advantage against a strong South African side that could make a serious bid for the title.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.