The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup is nearing its business end as the best 8 teams of the World Cup are all set to face each other in 4 quarter final matches, which will put them just two steps away from getting crowned as the World Champions. The Quarter Final action begins with the most evenly poised match among the four as the runners up in 2007 and 2011 World Cup Sri Lanka take on tournament South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney. Sri Lanka qualified from the Pool A by finishing in the third spot while the Proteas finished runners up to India in Pool B.

What adds more flavour to match is that Sri Lanka is one of the most consistent teams when it comes to performing in an ICC Tournament knockouts while South Africa has the knack of choking in pressure situations over the years which earned them the name Chokers. The proteas is yet to win a single knock-out fixture in a World Cup.

Pitch and Weather

The weather in Sydney on the match day is expected to be partly cloudy with the temperature hitting a maximum of 32 degrees. Over the years, the SCG has been one of the venue in Australia that has been favourable to spin. In the ongoing World Cup, the total of 350 has been breached twice in the three matches and for the quarter finals, the wicket is expected to remain the same. The team winning the toss will look to bat first.

Road to Quarter Finals

Sri Lanka (Pool A)

Matches

South Africa (Pool B)

Lost to New Zealand by 98 runs

1st Match

Beat Zimbabwe by 62 runs

Beat Afghanistan by 4 wickets

2nd Match

Lost to India by 130 runs

Beat Bangladesh by 92 runs

3rd Match

Beat West Indies by 257 runs

Beat England by 9 wickets

4th Match

Beat Ireland by 201 runs

Lost to Australia by 64 runs

5th Match

Lost to Pakistan by 29 runs

Beat Scotland by 148 runs

6th Match

Beat UAE by 146 runs

 

Head to Head:

Out of the 59 matches played between them, South Africa have won 28 matches while Sri Lanka has defeated the Proteas 29 matches in ODIs. Among the remaining two matches, 1 match was tied and 1 was abandoned.

How can one forget the DL fiasco during the 2003 World Cup Encounter between South Africa and Sri Lanka

Previous World Cup Encounters:

1992 World Cup, Wellington: Sri Lanka won by three wickets.

1999 World Cup, Northampton: South Africa won by 89 runs.

2003 World Cup, Durban: Match Tied.  

2007 World Cup, Guyana: South Africa won by 1 wicket.

Form Guide

Sri Lanka is having a great run in the World Cup courtesy their batsmen who were on a run scoring spree ever since the tournament started. With the exception of the first match against New Zealand, Sri Lankan batsmen are making merry as their top three batsmen are scoring tons and tons of runs. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, in particular have been more effective with the bat as they have amazed 395 and 496 runs respectively in the group stages. Sangakkara meanwhile has scored 4 consecutive tons and became the first batsman in ODIs to do so. Apart from the top 3, the middle order has performed well but only in patches as Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera have done their job in the match against Afghanistan when the top order failed. On the bowling front, they rely heavily on the fitness of Rangana Herath. If Herath is announced fit, he will be expected to play a vital role along with Lasith Malinga. Nuwan Kulasekara will need to make amends with the new ball so that the Proteas are put under pressure straight away. Sri Lanka will look to continue their winning run in the ICC knock out stages.

Kumar Sangakkara (left)and Tillakaratne Dilshan- The Sri Lankan Run Machine

Best Batsmen

Sri Lanka

Team

South Africa

Kumar Sangakkara

Batsman

AB de Villiers

6

Matches

6

6

Innings

6

496

Total Runs

417

124.00

Average

83.40

119.51

Strike-Rate

144.29

124

Highest Score

162*

 

South Africa, on the other hand was on a rampage in the group stages as they crossed the 400 mark twice and will hoping for their opener Quinton de Kock to get back to the scoring ways. Hashim Amla hasn’t set the tournament on fire but he looked good in patches along with Faf du Plessis. Their batting lies on the shoulders of AB de Villiers who has scored over 400 runs at an astonishing strike-rate. He will be expected to do the majority of the batting in the Knock Outs and should look to successfully finish the games. Having said that, his records in the knockouts of ICC tournaments does not look good but he will be out to prove a point. David Miller has really come off age in this World Cup as he batted with some responsibility throughout the tournament. JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien at 6 and 7 gives their batting order some depth and in Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, South Africa has three extraordinary bowlers who could rattle any opposition. Adding to the trio, the Proteas have Imran Tahir as well. The Proteas will hope to win the game and take the monkey called chokers tag off their back.  

Will Quinton de Kock get some runs under his belt?

Best Bowler

Sri Lanka

Team

South Africa

Lasith Malinga

Bowler

Morne Morkel

6

Matches

6

6

Innings

6

311

Runs Given

213

11

Wickets

13

28.27

Average

16.38

5.39

Economy

4.08

3/35

Best Bowling

3/34

 

Team News

AB de Villiers has ruled out the option of dropping out of form opener Quinton de Kock from the playing XI. This clearly means that it will be either Farhaan Behardien or Rilee Rossouw has to be missed out of the playing XI. After his performances in the last match against UAE, Behardien might end up getting the nod ahead of Rossouw.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka has been hit by injuries as they have already replaced three of their premier players and have some dark clouds over the fitness of spinner Rangana Herath, who injured his finger while trying to catch a ball off the bat of Jos Buttler a couple of weeks back. Sri Lanka will be itching to have him in the playing XI in a pitch that will assist the spinners. It won’t be surprising if Lanka decides to drop Kusal Perera and bring in an extra bowler in the XI.

All eyes on Rangana Herath’s availability  

Probable Playing XI

South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.

Sri Lanka: Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Matthews, Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Sachitra Senanayake and Rangana Herath.

Key to Success:

South Africa: If South Africa manages to get the Lankan Top 3 as early as possible, then they are in with a real chance of making it to the semis.

Sri Lanka: South Africa tend to choke under pressure. So, the onus will be on Sri Lanka to put 270+ runs on the board and let the Proteas chase under pressure.

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