Australia will look to maintain their momentum and move a step closer to qualification for the Cricket World Cup semi-finals when they take on Sri Lanka at The Oval in London on Saturday.
Australia have three wins in four games, with at least two of those coming in close encounters. A win here will cement their hold on the top-two positions. Sri Lanka on the other hand, have seen both their previous games washed out and have four points from four games.
The Aussies have notched up three wins out of four, but surprisingly they haven’t been in top gear yet. The middle-order batting issues still remain, while the absence of Marcus Stoinis has thrown the team balance into doubt.
Bowling too remains one-dimensional as the poor form of Adam Zampa means they are without a wicket-taking spin option. Stoinis’ injury will be closely monitored, as he is a vital cog in keeping them intact.
This game will be the first time in more than ten days that Sri Lanka take to the field after their two previous games have been washed out.
While question marks remain over the balance of the side, contributions from the seniors and consistency of performances, Sri Lanka still retain an outside chance of qualifying for the semis.
- Since the last World Cup, Sri Lanka have won just seven of their 45 ODIs against top-five sides (W7, L37, T1).
- Five of the last seven completed ODIs at this venue have been won by the team batting first.
- Sri Lanka haven’t won consecutive ODIs since August 2018.
- Australia have won eight of their last ten ODIs against Sri Lanka at neutral venues.
- Australia haven’t lost to Sri Lanka in the World Cup since losing in the 1996 final in Lahore (W5, NR1).
The Aussies have not been consistent, but, like champions do, they are finding a way to the finish line. On the other hand, Sri Lanka don’t inspire confidence in any of the departments and it would be a major shock if they can stop Australia.
Prediction: Australia to have the best opening partnership ($1.57 TopBetta)