• Saturday, March 07, 2015

Du Plessis counts SL as favourites

Sports Reporter from Chittagong

The Chittagong-leg of the World Twenty20 Super 10s will begin with a clash between teams who have had opposing fortunes in this format of cricket coming into the mega event. Sri Lanka have been in red hot form, winning five out of their last six games, two of which were against Bangladesh at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium -- the very same ground where they face South Africa today.
Having aced the Asia Cup a few weeks ago, the Sri Lankans could not have entered the ICC World T20 on a better groove, as their captain Dinesh Chandimal, during yesterday's pre-match press conference, put it: "We feel like we are over the moon."
The South Africans on the other hand will firstly need to ensure the availability of two of their key players, their captain Faf Du Plessis and pacer Dale Steyn, who are recovering from hamstring injuries. Speaking to reporters at the press conference, du Plessis stated that he still had problems with the sprint.
"It's been a pretty intense week I am trying to make sure that we are a 100 per cent ready for the game tomorrow. We both will take a fitness test tomorrow to see where we stand. Pace-wise I am up to about 70 per cent, hopefully we can crank that up to around 90 to 95 tomorrow," said du Plessis.
While the head-to-head record puts South Africa ahead -- the Proteas have won three out of the four times that the teams have played each other -- du Plessis reckons that the Lions will be the favourites going into the game.
"Sri Lankans in these conditions have to be the favourites, so we have to start good tomorrow. If we can get off to a good start, especially against them, we should have a good run in the tournament," hoped du Plessis.
The kind of positive form that Sri Lanka are in is perhaps best depicted by the fact that Lahiru Thirimanne, who was a key-figure during the Asia Cup, struggles to find a spot on the side. They are expected to open with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera. The only other question would be the choice between Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath, in the side.

For South Africa, the only question that will remain is whether Steyn will be fit enough to play. If he does not, he is likely to be replaced by Wayne Parnell.

Published: 12:01 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

Last modified: 3:29 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

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