As South Africa and Sri Lanka lock horns in the one-off Twenty20 International in Colombo on Tuesday, August 14, both sides will be keen on finishing off the tour on a high. While Sri Lanka won the largely one-sided Test series 2-0, the visitors came back strongly in the five-match One-Day International series winning the first three games on the bounce to take an unassailable 3-0 lead. The hosts, did, however, stage a comeback winning the final two encounters. The last ODI will particularly hurt the South Africans, who were blown away by the spin of Akila Dananjaya to be bundled out for just 121 with the mystery spinner returning 6 for 29 in nine overs to help Sri Lanka win by 178 runs. It also meant that South Africa despite winning the series slipped to fourth place on the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings.
With the T20I being staged in the same venue, Sri Lanka will be hoping to ride on that momentum and sign off on a winning note. For starters, they will be bolstered with the return of Dinesh Chandimal, who comes back after serving his suspension. That means Niroshan Dickwella might have to sit out. Angelo Mathews will continue as captain of the side, though this will be his first 20-over game in over eight months. But the veteran has shown excellent form in the preceding ODI series and will be quietly confident going into the one-off T20I. Sri Lanka’s recent record in the shortest format of the game at home does not inspire too much confidence with both Bangladesh and India outsmarting them in the Nidahas trophy recently, something which South Africa will bear in mind.
There will be a change in captaincy for the visitors with JP Duminy leading the side, in place of the injured Faf du Plessis. Quinton de Kock captained the side in the final two ODIs, though that did not quite go well for South Africa.
Duminy himself is in fine form, having scored 227 runs in five outings striking at a belligerent 135.92. South Africa will hope that rubs onto the team as well.
As far as the head to head record is concerned these two sides have faced off nine times in T20Is. South Africa have won five of these encounters while Sri Lanka have been on the winning side four times.
There is rain in the air in Colombo and there are chances of a thunderstorm, but keeping in mind the drainage conditions on most Sri Lankan grounds, we should get a full game.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dhananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha
South Africa: JP Duminy (capt), Hashim Amla, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi