Sharjah: Quinton de Kock, who had pulled out of the last game after refusing to take the knee, is likely to return when South Africa take on an inconsistent Sri Lanka in a Super 12 game of the T20 World Cup here on Saturday.
De Kock on Thursday made himself available for his team’s remaining matches of the T20 World Cup, saying he is fine taking a knee if it “educates others” and that he was deeply hurt at being called a racist for not making the gesture against West Indies. His team had won that game by eight wickets.
The return of de Kock will also bolster the South African top-order and stylish southpaw himself would like to make a statement by scoring big.
Skipper Temba Bavuma has scores of 12 and 2 in World Cup so far and he would be more than keen to find form.
South Africa boast of aggressive batters in Reeza Hendricks, Rassle van der Dussen, Aiden Markram and the ever-reliable David Miller, who can take any opposition attack apart on their day and Sri Lanka’s would be no exception.
But all the South African batters would need to be wary of the wily Sri Lankan spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, who have bamboozled the opposition batters.
The South African bowling clicked in their game against West Indies with right-arm medium pacer Dwaine Pretorius claiming three wickets. They also have two of the best death bowlers in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, whose role would be crucial on Saturday afternoon.
An important role would be played for the Proteas by their spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi-, who would look to run through the talented but inconsistent Sri Lankan batting order.
South Africa are unlikely to tinker with their winning combination.
Sri Lanka will have to quickly put the seven-wicket hammering by Australia behind them and need to start afresh.
For the Islanders, Charith Asalanka’s form has been a positive. Wicket-keeper Kusal Perera, who got a start against Australia, would need to make it big against South Africa.
However, the constant failure of opener Pathum Nissanka and Avishka Fernando, would be a cause of concern for the team management. The role of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who showed glimpses of his talent against Australia and flamboyant Wanindu Hasaranga, will also be crucial if Sri Lanka have to post or chase a big total.
The Sri Lankan pace trio of Chamika Karunaratne, Dushyant Chameera and Lahiru Kumara looked off-coloured against Australia and they will have to bowl in the right areas to contain the South African batting.
While dew wouldn’t have any impact on the game, the outcome would be crucial for both the outfits as they aim to qualify for the semi-finals.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya De Silva, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Maheesh Theekshana, Akila Dananjaya, Binura Fernando.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.
Match starts at 3.30 PM IST.
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