IMAGE: Sri Lanka’s strike bowler Lasith Malinga took four wickets in their surprise win over England last Friday. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Buoyed by the stunning win against England, Sri Lanka will look to keep their semi-finals hopes alive as they train their sights on South Africa in a do-or-die World Cup encounter in Chester-le-Street on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s surprise 20-run victory over England has suddenly thrown open the semi-final qualifications, breathing new life into their inconsistent campaign.
With two wins, Sri Lanka are currently at the seventh spot with six points and need to win rest of their three matches to harbour hopes of a semis berth.
The 1996 champions will also have a psychological advantage when they sport their second choice “lucky yellow jersey” that they wore against England.
While Sri Lanka will be fancying their chances against a lowly South African side, the Proteas would be more than keen to make a statement against the 1996 winners.
Last edition’s semi-finalists, South Africa were knocked out of the World Cup following a 49-run loss to Pakistan. They have failed to learn from their mistakes in what has been a disappointing campaign and with nothing to lose now, the Proteas will hope for a consolation win.
“The way we played today is borderline embarrassing. We are a mediocre team at the moment because we are making the same mistakes. One step forward and two steps back is not a good team.
“The guys are playing with low confidence and making the same mistakes. It just rolls on, it’s such a snowball effect,” captain Faf du Plessis said after the defeat to Pakistan.
Both the teams have struggled with the bat. But Sri Lanka have an experienced bowling attack led by veteran Lasith Malinga.
Along with Dhananjaya de Silva, Malinga defended a relatively modest target of 233 against England, bowling out the hosts for 212.
To ensure another win, the Sri Lankan batsman will need to step up and complement their bowling.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pertorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamshi, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Rassie van der Dussen, Beuran Hendricks.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Dhananjaya de Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.
Match starts at 3pm (IST).
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