One team is recognized as chokers for not winning knock-out matches with respect to their performances in other games. Another team is known as the runner-ups of every tournament for ending as runners-up in all ICC tournaments in the recent past.

By this time everyone would have got the point that we are taking about South Africa and Sri Lanka. These both teams are set to kick-start their 2014 ICC World Twenty20 campaigns at Chittagong. It is a very rare encounter witnessed between them in multi-nation tournament.

Both the team had two warm-up games, Sri Lanka lost one to West Indies and beat India. South Africa struggled but recovered to beat Bangladesh ‘A’ and then smashed Pakistan easily. A clearer idea of how these teams stack up will be known only after their first game. South Africa have the recent edge over Sri Lanka having won a series against them but at the end of the day both the teams will like to hold on to it.

Head-to-Head in T20’s:

South Africa and Sri Lanka have just played four T20 International matches against each other, and all of them been played in Sri Lanka. The first of them came in 2012 which was of the part in World T20 2012. That fixture was reduced to seven overs a side and South Africa won by 32 runs. Later they played 3 T20s in 2013 of which South Africa won two and Sri Lanka winning one.

Pitch Report: The wicket in the Chittagong stadium will be helping the seamers as a grassy track, which promises to be quicker than earlier has welcomed the teams which could mean less of a spin factor first up from the pitch.

Weather Report: The weather will be clear as clear skies are forecasted with temperatures between 26 and 30 degrees. There is also expected to less chance of dew because the match is being played in the afternoon. .So the captain winning the toss would go towards either of the way based on their team’s ability.

Team news:

South Africa has not won a single knock-out match at an ICC event in 16 years, since they lifted the Champions Trophy in 1998. They have been failing to win a knock-out game even while performing brilliantly in group stage matches.

But interestingly, South Africa is not among the favourites to win. An average form in limited-overs cricket despite of being the top-ranked Test team in the world, and early exist at the World T20 2012, in which they lost all three Super Eight matches and in the Champions Trophy, where they were thump downed in the semi-final by England, made them out of the race. But South Africans remain hopeful that on day their fortunes turn at major tournaments and in ICC events.

South Africa are working hard over the fitness of their captain Faf du Plessis and their pace spearhead, Dale Steyn, who are carrying hamstring injuries. They will be going down fitness tests on the morning of the game but it seems unlikely du Plessis will play, though, he batted in the nets the day before the match but his running was a problem. If he doe not play, AB de Villiers will captain in his absence and Farhaan Behardien will replace him in the batting order. South Africa may not to risk Steyn if he is not fit 100%. That will make their attack with two left-armers Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell and one specialist spinner in Imran Tahir and Duminy as an additional option.

South Africa’s Possible Playing XI:

Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Wayne Parnell / Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Sri Lanka will continue to stick with their familiar XI which will be Kusal Perera opening with Tillakaratne Dilshan and a four-seam, two front-line spinners. The only uncertainty is whether they will opt for Ajantha Mendis or Rangana Herath. Both spinners played a crucial role in Sri Lanka’s win against India in the practice match and while Mendis took a wicket, Herath was more economical. Though, Mendis could hold on the edge over Hearth given that he has a better record over South Africa in that T20I series.

Sri Lanka’s Possible Playing XI:

Tillakratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachitra Senenayake, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis.

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    Cricket Statistician and Journalist. Love to churn out facts and stats. Member of the Society of Cricket Statisticians of India (SCSI).

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