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T20 World Cup 2024: Sri Lanka vs South Africa Best Bets

The Proteas kick off the T20 World Cup campaign on Monday against Sri Lanka in East Meadow, New York.

Cricket World Cup

The Proteas kick off the T20 World Cup campaign on Monday against Sri Lanka in East Meadow, New York. Both teams will have to adapt to unknown conditions in this vital Group D opener, but captain Aiden Markram is confident his side can go all the way this year. Let’s look at the best bets to take for this match.

Venue: Nassau County International Cricket Stadium

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Sri Lanka have revamped their squad for 2022 with eight changes, including the return of veteran Angelo Mathews, whose experience and skill with both bat and ball will be crucial. They enter this match after a 2-1 series win against Bangladesh in early March but faced a setback in their first World Cup warm-up match, losing to the Netherlands by 20 runs in Florida. Despite resting key bowlers Matheesha Pathirana, Maheesh Theekshana, and Dushmantha Chameera, coach Chris Silverwood would have been disheartened by his team’s performance. The Netherlands, ranked 15th by the ICC, posted 181/5, and Sri Lanka’s batters were bowled out for 161, with only captain Wanindu Hasaranga’s quickfire 43 off 15 balls and Dasun Shanaka’s unbeaten 35* standing out.

In a second warm-up match against Ireland, Sri Lanka’s batters struggled again, posting a modest 163/8 in their 20 overs. Mathews top-scored with an unbeaten 32*, while Hasaranga contributed 26. However, their bowlers redeemed them, bowling Ireland out for 122 with ten balls to spare. Shanaka shone with the ball, taking 4/23 in 3.2 overs. Despite this, South Africa are the favourites to win this game, and based on recent form, this seems a fair assessment.

South Africa comes into this campaign after a 3-0 away series defeat to the Windies, with a weakened batting lineup. This loss marked their ninth defeat in 11 matches and their fourth series loss in five attempts. Despite his strong performance in franchise T20 cricket, Rassie van der Dussen did not make the squad, passing the captaincy back to Aiden Markram, who was fresh from his runners-up finish with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

Markram is joined by other IPL returnees, including big-hitter Heinrich Klaasen, who scored 479 runs with 38 sixes (SR 171), and Tristan Stubbs, who amassed 378 runs at a SR of 191. However, coach Rob Walter will be concerned about Anrich Nortje’s form, as he had a disappointing IPL season and returned figures of 0/73 in six overs against the Windies. Nevertheless, Markram expressed confidence in Nortje, citing his recovery from a major injury and reaffirming the team’s belief in his abilities.

This will be a tightly contested encounter but expect South Africa’s batting firepower to help them get over the line.

Prediction: South Africa to win at 1.40.

Key Stats

South Africa has won the last seven H2H matches in this format.

Of Sri Lanka’s last seven T20I matches, five were won by the team batting first.

Charith Asalanka is just ten runs away from the 1,000 T20I run milestone.

Quinton de Kock (one) and David Miller (two) are the only members of the South Africa squad to have made a T20I century.

Across all T20s since 2023, Klaasen clobbers spin at a strike rate of 184 and hits sixes just under once every seven balls faced.

Matheesha Pathirana is Sri Lanka’s leading wicket-taker in 2024 with 11 from just 28.4 overs.

Aiden Markram scored just 220 runs from 11 innings in the recent IPL tournament at a strike rate of 124.29.

But against the bowling of Maheesh Theekshana, Markram averages 70 across all white-ball internationals.

In four T20Is against South Africa, Hasaranga has taken six wickets at an economy rate of 6.25.

Best Bets

Best Bet: Quinton de Kock to score under 24.5 runs at 1.86.

Value Bet: Reeza Hendricks to be South Africa’s top batter at 4.35.

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