The daily tournament preview charges down the wicket with Cricket World Cup tips for reigning champ Australia’s clash with struggling Sri Lanka.
19:30 (AEST), Sat 15th Jun @ The Oval, London
History: Played 96: Australia 60 V Sri Lanka 32 (4 No Results)
Last meeting: September 4, 2016: Australia d Sri Lanka by 5 wickets at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Final Thoughts: In a Cricket World Cup week badly affected by weather, Australia have somehow managed to squeeze two games in. Sri Lanka’s last two games have been washed out.
The Aussies won their first two against Afghanistan (7 wickets) and West Indies (15 runs). But they were handed a reality check in a 36-run loss to India.
The defending champs responded solidly with a 41-run win over Pakistan on Wednesday. David Warner (107 from 111 balls) and Aaron Finch (82 from 84) laid the platform, but their total of 307 all out was a letdown after such a sizzling start.
Pat Cummins (3/33) was the standout Australian bowler as Pakistan were bowled out for 266 in the 46th over. But there will be concerns over their inability to snuff out the chase sooner.
Sri Lanka were pummelled by New Zealand in a 10-wicket opening-weekend loss. They bounced back with a scratchy 34-run win over Afghanistan, but subsequent games against Pakistan and Bangladesh were abandoned without a ball being bowled.
A rich history
The nations’ rivalry boasts some memorable Cricket World Cup encounters. Sri Lanka snared a famous upset in the 1996 final, while Australia reversed the result in the 2007 decider.
But they have not competed at ODI level since 2016, when Australia carved out a 4-1 series win in Sri Lanka. Australia also won by 64 runs at the SCG during the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Besides having far better form on the board and more talent in the squad, Australia should have some decent momentum and rhythm – despite being yet to hit their straps. An eight-day break won’ have done Sri Lanka any favours.
Finch has been building nicely with scores of 66, 6, 36 and 82 so far. Expect the skipper to take advantage of an underperforming, underdone Sri Lanka attack.
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