T20 World Cup 2021: Sri Lanka Predicted XI against South Africa

Sri Lanka take on South Africa on Saturday (October 30) at Sharjah.

Sri Lanka team
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Sri Lanka team. (Photo source: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

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Sri Lanka suffered their first defeat in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup against Australia. After a thunderous start at the top, the middle-order batters faltered against the spin of Adam Zampa. Wicketkeeper batter Kusal Perera, Charith Asalanka, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa got into the thirties but failed to convert into something substantial.

The bowlers also failed to provide a breakthrough in the powerplay and allowed Australia openers David Warner and Aaron Finch to get back into form. Group A is comparatively tougher than Group B, and Sri Lanka can ill-afford to have any more slipups. The Lankan Lions next face South Africa on Saturday (October 30).

Sri Lanka’s bowling has looked solid, with spin twins Waninudu Hasaraanga and Maheesh Theekshana leading the charge. It is the batting that has somehow looked a bit bland. The game against South Africa is going to be played at Sharjah, where the odd balls have kept low. The Proteas have good spinners in Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj, and the likes of Perera, Avishka Fernando, and Asalanka need to fire.

Here is Sri Lanka’s predicted playing XI against South Africa

Openers – Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera

Nissanka has failed to get going so far in the tournament. He has scored only 97 in the five games that he has played so far. The strike rate is low, which has resulted in slow starts in the powerplay. The youngster would be hoping to back his form.

Perera’s problem has been different as he has got starts but failed to convert into a match-winning score. Considering the vast amount of experience he has, the management would expect him to bat through longer periods of time.

Middle-order – Charith Asalanka, Avishika Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa

Charith Asalanka
Charith Asalanka. (Photo source: Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

One of the strong points for Sri Lanka in the global event has been the performances of Charith Asalanka, Fernando, and Rajapaksa. The trio has been pivotal in the team posting good scores. Asalanka and Rajapaksa scored 35 and 33 respectively against Australia. The latter is also the third-highest run-scorer as he has scored 129 runs in five innings.

Fernando’s promotion up the order has worked wonders for Sri Lanka. He is able to get more time at the crease and managing to strike at 140. He missed out on scoring in the last two games and would be eager to stamp his class against South Africa.

All-rounders – Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne

Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Leg-spinner Hasaranga was the standout bowler for the team against Australia. He picked up two wickets and gave away just 22 runs. He missed out on scoring vital runs in the end, but he has looked brilliant with the ball.

Karunaratne and skipper Shanaka didn’t have the best of games in either department of the game. The former bowled just the two overs and the latter only one over. The duo also failed to lend the finishing touches to the innings.

Bowlers – Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, and Maheesh Theekshana

Dushmantha Chameera
Dushmantha Chameera. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Mystery spinner Theekshana returned to the team after missing out against Bangladesh. He has looked good in the Qualifiers, managing to pick eight wickets. The pacers Kumara and Chammera had a forgettable game against Australia. Kumara gave a whopping 48 runs in just three overs, whereas Chaemeera gave 33 runs in his three overs.