Having already been assured of a place in the quarter-finals following Bangladesh’s historic win, an injury-hit Sri Lanka. Scotland, despite putting in spirited performances, find themselves without a win in four games, with Sri Lanka and Australia to play. The game also assumes importance to determine Sri Lanka’s potential quarter-final opponent. A Sri Lanka win will take them above Bangladesh, who are yet to play New Zealand, and potentially avoid a clash with the table-toppers from Pool B (India).
Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal hobbled out of the Australia game and the World Cup with a hamstring injury. A significant blow considering he had just scored a 22-ball half-century. Since the start of the warmup games, Sri Lanka have lost Dhammika Prasad, Jeevan Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne and now Dinesh Chandimal. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who also suffered an injury to his finger during the England game has not sufficiently recovered and is unlikely to recover before the quarters. Kusal Perera has been drafted into the squad while Kithruwan Vithanage has been flown in as cover. Amidst all the injury trouble, a 37-year old Kumar Sangakkara became the first man to score three consecutive World Cup centuries when he scored the 104 at the SCG. Dilshan, Jayawardene, Thirimanne have all scored hundreds but the bowling, especially in the middle overs, remains an area of concern. The trio of Angelo Mathews, Thissara Perera and Seekkuge Prasanna gave away 223 runs in their 26 overs against Australia. The think-tank would consider bringing back Suranga Lakmal to reinforce the bowling department.
Lahiru Thirimanne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (c), Upul Tharanga, Thissara Perera, Kusal Perera/Nuwan Kulasekara, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga
Player to watch out for: Angelo Mathews – The captain had been the star of Sri Lanka coming in to the World Cup. However, with the Sangakkara-led top-order firing on all cylinders, Mathews hasn’t had enough time with the bat. Even with the ball, he endured a forgettable game against the Aussies. Look forward to an improved showing from the versatile Sri Lankan captain.
Scotland travel to Tasmania without a win in any of the four games. They succeeded in sending jitters down the red-hot New Zealand side despite defending a small score. Against Afghanistan, they came up against an inspired Samiullah Shenwari, who took the game away from them. The biggest worry for Scotland has been that they haven’t succeeded in putting a solid all-round performance, a fact highlighted in their previous game against Bangladesh. Kyle Coetzer’s 158 (record for associate nations in World Cups) received no backing from the bowling and Bangladesh chased down 318 at a canter. Matt Machan, Richie Berrington have been good with the bat. Preston Mommsen will hope for one of the middle-order batsmen to carry on and make it big. Lead bowler Iain Wardlaw has been disappointing in the tournament and will hope for an improved showing. Wardlaw, Josh Daveyand now face the prospect of bowling at Sri Lankan top-order. At the least, they will be expected to put in another spirited show as their World Cup winds down.
Kyle Coetzer, Calum MacLeod, Hamish Gardiner, Matt Machan, Preston Mommsen (c), Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross (wk), Josh Davey, Majid Haq, Alasdair Evans, Iain Wardlaw
Player to watch out for: Preston Mommsen – The Scottish captain hasn’t found the going easy with the bat. His 39 against Bangladesh took his World Cup tally to a meagre 88 runs. He will look to prove a point in the team’s two remaining clashes.
Pitch and Conditions:
Short square boundaries prove to be a handful to defend. Sri Lankan batsmen should enjoy themselves on the Hobart pitch. The forecast indicate a 20% chance of rain but the showers are unlikely to force a washout.
Stats and Trivia:
– Kumar Sangakkara is the first man to score three successive World Cup centuries.
– Kyle Coetzer needs 29 runs to become the third Scotland player to score 1000 ODI runs. Gavin Hamilton and Neil McCallum are the others.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Raj Singh