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Scotland vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Preview – Wounded Lankans look to boost confidence ahead of World Cup

Both teams will look at this series as a great opportunity to assert their dominance on the other.

Sri Lanka Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga with head coach Chandika Hathurusingha. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Scotland might not be one of the ten teams featuring in the World Cup 2019, but the side has been playing some exceptional cricket in recent times. They gave all the other teams a good run for their money in the Qualifier tournament last year and missed out just by a whisker. The team will be looking at honing their skills further as they take on the Asian giants Sri Lanka in a two-match ODI series starting from Saturday.

This is a great chance for the Scots to upset the Lankans as the team hasn’t been playing encouraging cricket of late. Their players have struggled in all the three departments of the game and seem one of the weakest teams heading into the World Cup. It will be a massive boost for Scotland even if they manage to level the series 1-1.

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Howbeit, the Sri Lanka team isn’t one of those teams who will throw the towel in easily. They will be looking at this as a wonderful opportunity to gain morale back before heading into the mega event. Moreover, they will hope that the change of leadership, with Dimuth Karunaratne at the helm, will change their fortunes. Two good wins under their belt followed by good performances in the practice game will sure do their confidence a world of good.

Team Combinations

Scotland

There aren’t many surprises with the Predicted XI of the home team. Scotland will miss the services of Richie Berrington for this series and Dylan Budge might get an opportunity to play his second ODI. However, it will be a toss-up between him and Michael Leask. Wicket-keeper Matthew Cross and skipper Kyle Coetzer along with Calum MacLeod will form an important part of the batting line-up which doesn’t have too much of experience.

Predicted XI: Matthew Cross (wk), Kyle Coetzer (c), Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask/Dylan Budge, George Munsey, Craig Wallace, Tom Sole, Safyaan Sharif, Mark Watt, Alasdair Evans, Bradley Wheal.

Sri Lanka

For Sri Lanka, the major change is at the top of the order where Dimuth Karunaratne will be opening the innings. Another positive news for them is that both Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera will be playing this game. The middle-order will be further bolstered with the inclusion of Angelo Mathews. Ideally, one would like to see Isuru Udana batting higher up the order depending upon the situation of the game. The bowling attack will be led by Lasith Malinga who has had a decent IPL 2019.

Predicted XI: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Jeffrey Vandersay, Suranga Lakmal.

Focus will be on

Calum MacLeod (Scotland)

Calum MacLeod is one of the most experienced campaigners in the Scotland line-up. The batting all-rounder has represented the team in 57 ODIs thus far and has been one of the most prolific scorers for them. If the home team is to give a tough competition, the way he goes about his innings will be critical.

Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)

For a massive tournament like the World Cup, Sri Lanka had no option but to resort back to Dimuth Karunaratne who has tasted some early success in Test cricket. The left-hander hasn’t played an ODI game in the last four years and all eyes will be on him. He must lead his team from the front with the bat. Karunaratne doesn’t boast of best of records in ODI cricket and will look to improve upon his numbers.

Head to Head

Overall – 2 | Scotland won – 0 | Sri Lanka won – 2

Stat Attack

1953 – Runs Calum MacLeod scored in ODI cricket thus far. He needs another 47 runs to become the second Scotland cricketer to score 2000 ODI runs.

Broadcast Details

Live Streaming – Cricket Scotland’s official Youtube channel – CricketScotlandTV

Match Timings – 15:30 IST; 11:00 local

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