Sri Lanka will rely on its exceptionally varied bowling attack to tame the unrestrained batting power of South Africa in its Group D T20 World Cup opener here on Monday.

They will be eager to get onto the points table at the earliest too as some tricky teams like Netherlands, Bangladesh and Nepal are clubbed with them in the group.

South Africa has spread all its cards on the table as the team selection indicated the most likely route it would take in this ICC showpiece.

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A batting line-up consisting of captain Aiden Markram, wicketkeeper batter Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Tristan Stubbs could be a nightmare for any bowling attack.

Klaasen and Stubbs have been in roaring form of late. In this World Cup cycle, the right-hander has averaged 41 and struck runs at 182.

In IPL (Indian Premier League) 2024 too, Klaasen made 471 runs from 16 matches at a strike rate of 171 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Stubbs has been equally impressive for Delhi Capitals, amassing 378 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate of 190.

Both these gifted power-strikers feature in the middle-order, when the spinners will be in operation, and to add to Lanka’s worries, they are phenomenal against the tweakers, especially Klaasen.

In the run-up to the World Cup, the 32-year-old from Transvaal has averaged 59 against spin and made runs at an eye-watering strike rate of 191.

It will certainly worry a set of Lankan spinners such as captain Wanindu Hasaranga (economy 7.42) and Maheesh Theekshana (6.71), both of whom had to battle injuries in the recent past.

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So, Sri Lanka, which has not reached the knockouts of a T20 World Cup after its triumph in 2014, will be eager to try a couple of overs from pacers Matheesha Pathirana and Dilshan Madushanka in that phase when Klaasen and Stubbs are looking to accelerate.

However, Lanka might take heart from the fact that the Proteas went down 0-3 to West Indies in a recent T20I series at Kingston.

Lanka will also hope that the New York pitch will continue to offer some help to the bowlers. In Saturday’s warm-up match between India and Bangladesh, a few deliveries did not rise above the ankle and knee level.

Sri Lanka is also one of the teams that has played a good number of T20Is this year. In 2024, it has series wins over Zimbabwe and Afghanistan at home and Bangladesh away. It has won six of the last nine T20Is.

But those external factors will not have much of a bearing on a fresh day and Lanka knows that its batters too will have to come good against the African rival.

They have the experienced Angelo Mathews, the explosive Kusal Mendis and the rock-solid Dhananjaya de Silva to bank on while former captain Dasun Shanaka can make a few quick runs down the order.

The SA attack does not have too much variety in its bowling unit as it largely revolves around pacer Kagiso Rabada and left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

Anrich Nortje is still finding his range after coming back from an injury and had an underwhelming IPL, where he conceded more than 11 runs an over.

The SA management will hope that the pacer will regain his rhythm on the biggest stage and that will have a major say in avoiding another below-par outing in a World Cup.


Aiden Markram (c), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs.


Wanindu Hasaranga (c), Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya De Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka. Travelling Reserves: Asitha Fernando, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Janith Liyanage.

Match starts at 8 PM IST.

Oman faces Namibia

In a Group B clash at Bridgetown, Namibia, a dominant force in the African Qualifiers, will be hoping for a winning start against Oman.

However, it would not be that easy for Namibia as Oman had run it close in April, before conceding the five-match series 2-1.

Hence, Oman, which is making its third appearance in a T20 WC, will be hoping for a better outcome this time.


Aqib Ilyas (c), Zeeshan Maqsood, Kashyap Prajapati, Pratik Athavale, Ayaan Khan, Shoaib Khan, Mohammad Nadeem, Naseem Khushi, Mehran Khan, Bilal Khan, Rafiullah, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt, Shakeel Ahmad, Khalid Kail. Reserves: Jatinder Singh, Samay Shrivastava, Sufyan Mehmood, Jay Odedra.


Gerhard Erasmus (c), Zane Green, Michael Van Lingen, Dylan Leicher, Ruben Trumpelmann, Jack Brassell, Ben Shikongo, Tangeni Lungameni, Niko Davin, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, JP Kotze, David Wiese, Bernard Scholtz, Malan Kruger, PD Blignaut.