Sri Lanka aren’t exactly in good form, and, if this was not at the tail end of a World Cup, it would be an easy one to pick. South Africa would win just about every time. Maybe in a 5-ODI series they might lose 1 game, but more likely it’d finish 5-0. But South Africa are knocked out of the World Cup while Sri Lanka are not, and that makes all of the difference. The negativity in the South African camp is extremely high, with very few able to break through it. Perhaps Rassie van der Dussen can hold his head up high but that’s about it. Catches are being dropped, boundaries gifted, just everything is going wrong. Sri Lanka, for their part, had a good thing happen against England, where they came back from miles behind to steal it at the death, with Lasith Malinga starring. While a South African victory wouldn’t be an upset, as they are ranked 4th to Sri Lanka’s 9th, it’d be a bit of a surprise given the fact of the tournament situation for both teams.
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Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) Lasith Malinga will star
He’s been hyped up in the past few days since Sri Lanka’s shock victory over England, with one statistic that in the past 9 years Malinga has bowled more than twice as many yorkers as any other ODI bowler. It’s an oddly specific timeframe designed to make the player in question look better than they are, but we can’t deny that he is doing well and I am predicting that that will continue.
(2) South Africa will be very, very negative
There will be dropped catches, misfields, missed runouts, wickets gifted away, and just plain everything will go wrong for them. They were bad against Pakistan but now they will be worse. They are out of the tournament and mentally they are even further out. This is just sad.
(3) Rassie van der Dussen will be the one shining light
He’s shown a good head in spite of the pessimism surrounding the team and perhaps he can get a really good score here.
(4) Sri Lanka will win
While I am not completely certain that they will win, as form and talent of each team suggests that South Africa will win easily, the position in the table suggests that Sri Lanka will get there.
(5) Karunaratne will shine
He’s a bit off his early form but he’s still doing well and I am picking a big one from him in a very important match for the side that may yet see them in the semi-finals.