The twentieth group stage match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup will see a battle between 1996 winners Sri Lanka and title contenders and five-time champions Australia.
The Kangaroos start as firm favourites to outlast the islanders in the first encounter between both teams in this tournament.
The Aussies thrashed Afghanistan and won against West Indies before losing out to India at the Oval. However, Aaron Finch’s side fought back to win a crucial match against the unpredictable Pakistanis.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka were soundly defeated by New Zealand in their inaugural match following which they were made to work hard for a win against minnows Afghanistan.
Its third and fourth matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh were washed out, and Dimuth Karunaratne’s side will be aiming to register two points with a win over Australia tomorrow.
Sri Lanka (Probable XI): Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera (WK), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga.
Australia (Probable XI): David Warner, Aaron Finch (C), Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (WK), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa.
Angelo Mathews vs Mitchell Starc
Angelo Mathews is a great cricketer and has contributed a lot to Lankan cricket over the last few years.
An excellent cricketing mind, Mathews used to be one of the best all-rounders in the ODI circuit thanks to his more-than-handy medium pace bowling, brilliance on the field and exceptional batting.
The former Sri Lankan skipper does not have the burden of being one, and this could benefit his team as it might set Mathews free on his own.
The middle-order batsman boasts of 5381 runs from 206 matches, with an average of 41.39 coupled with a good strike rate of 83.16.
Mitchell Starc has been wreaking havoc in this tournament. The New South Welshman was instrumental in getting Pakistan all out in their previous match, and Finch would be relying on the pacer’s ability again.
With 154 wickets and an economy of 4.98, the left-arm quick also averages 21.45 in ODI cricket. With these figures, Starc will definitely be a key factor for his team in this tournament.
This battle has the potential of being the blockbuster kind, and we feel that Starc might have a slight edge on the Oval wicket.
Lasith Malinga vs David Warner
The 35-year old Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga has stood the test of time, and has been an absolute legendary performer for the island nation over the years.
The slingy fast bowler will be gunning for glory in his last World Cup and will be trying to emulate his match-winning heroics against Afghanistan.
Malinga has 325 wickets from 220 ODI matches with a strike rate of 32.55.
Scoring a century and two fifties, David Warner has truly set England ablaze and has been vital for Australia so far.
Warner has, to his credit, 4598 runs in 110 matches. He has an average of 44.21 and an excellent strike rate of 95.49 in ODI cricket.
The battle between Lasith Malinga and David Warner is billed to be an intriguing one.
Warner has been in red hot form so far, and has a point to prove after his snail-paced innings against India cost the team dearly. The fighter in him would not be content with the hundred against Pakistan in the last match.
Hence, we expect Warner to come up trumps in this particular contest.
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Considering the team chemistry and form of the Australians pitted against the uncertainty that clouds the Lankan team, one would only anticipate an Aussie win.
But Sri Lanka are consistent performers in the World Cup, and can not be ruled out outrightly.
Team Cricwizz predicts that Australia would beat Sri Lanka tomorrow at the Oval, provided rain does not play spoilsport.
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