With the series on the line, Sri Lanka host South Africa in the third One-Day International (ODI) at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo. Sri Lanka managed to neck out a 14-run win in the first game, but the Proteas bounced back in the second game, levelling the series with a comprehensive 67-run victory in a rain-curtailed game.
Overall, South Africa have the advantage over Sri Lanka having won 45 out of the 79 ODIs contested between these two sides. Even when it comes to the last five matches, the Proteas have a 4-1 advantage.
Overall matches: 79 | Sri Lanka 32 wins | South Africa 45 wins | Tie/NR 2
Last 5 matches: Sri Lanka 1 win | South Africa 4 wins
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Spin has ruled the roost in the ongoing series and it does not seem like it would be any different for the series decider as well. Spinners have accounted for 63% of the wickets and they have done so at an economy rate of 5.3 and runs per wicket ratio of 36.6. The corresponding numbers for the pacers are 6.4 and 36.6 respectively. However, the fast bowlers have fared marginally better when it comes to the strike-rate, having struck once every 40.2 deliveries, compared to the spinners, who have picked up a wicket every 41.2 balls.
While it might benefit you by having a host of quality spinners, having a couple pacers will not do much harm either. Both teams are not short on either fronts.
The two matches in the series have been won by the team batting first, however, in the previous three ODIs, the team chasing got over the finish line. Given that this is a decider, will the team winning the toss prefer to put runs on the board? We will have to wait and see.
In his last four innings, Janneman Malan has scores of 84, 177*, 23 and more recently, he slammed a match-winning 121 in the second ODI. He averages 104.50 in eight innings, which is the highest among any batsman who has played at least those many knocks. Furthermore, he has also struck five 50-plus scores in his brief ODI career, which is truly staggering. Expect Malan to be among the runs in this match too.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Malan could score 58-86 runs in this match
Stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj has gone wicketless in ODIs this year just once and in the two matches in the series so far, he has managed three wickets and has given away very little in the process. In 2021, Maharaj has picked up six ODI wickets this year, 27.33 runs and 38 deliveries apart. As someone who can bowl well even with the fielding restrictions, the batsmen will be wary of Maharaj.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Maharaj could pick up 1-2 wickets in this match
Sri Lanka opener Avishka Fernando is in good form going into this match having scored two fifties and a century in his last five ODI innings. He scored a match-winning 118 in the first ODI of this series and will be hoping to get another big score after being dismissed for just eight in the second game. He generally starts off slow, but catches up in the end and will be crucial in Sri Lanka’s bid in completing a series win.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Fernando could score 44-66 runs in this match
With 18 wickets to his name, Dushmantha Chameera is the leading wicket-taker in ODIs in 2021. He has done so at an average of 31.7 and struck once every 34.1 deliveries. He has managed just a couple of wickets this series so far and will add a few more to his kitty, which will go a long way in helping his team win the decider.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Chameera could pick up 1-2 wickets in this match