T20 series preview: SA v Sri Lanka

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Having been thoroughly outdone in the Test series Sri Lanka will be hoping the change of format will bring with it a change of fortune.

South Africa have named a young squad with a view to giving their top players a break while also rewarding the top domestic performers in the format.

Jon-Jon Smuts, Theunis de Bruyn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson and Lungi Ngidi are all in line to make their T20 debuts for the Proteas.

Anchoring the young squad will be experienced campaigners in the form of skipper Farhaan Behardien,  Imran Tahir, David Miller and Wayne Parnell.

Sri Lanka have two uncapped players in their group in the shape of allrounder Thikshila de Silva and spinner Lakshan Sandakan.

The Islanders are currently on a six match losing streak in T20 cricket having had an indifferent 2016 in the format and suffering a 2-0 defeat in their most recent series against Australia at home.

South Africa will be without AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock but will be able to call on big hitting debutant Jon-Jon Smuts.

Despite having an impressive Big Bash so far Sri Lanka have not selected Thisara Perera for the series with Thikshila set to provide a similar skillset.

For South Africa this series has the air of a trial, to see which of its current crop of young players are ready to make the step up while for Sri Lanka a good performance will go a long way towards saving face after a 3-0 whitewash in the Test series.

Key Players

David Miller will enjoy the position of senior batsman in the squad and after an excellent ODI series against Australia he will be confident of doing well.

Imran Tahir’s wicket-taking ability will be valuable for South Africa as will his experience.

Sri Lanka are likely to lean heavily on skipper Angelo Mathews yet again in this series with the batting in the squad looking a little fragile.

Suranga Lakmal had an excellent Test series and will be looking to take that form into the hit and giggle format, his spells up front could make or break Sri Lanka’s efforts with the ball.

Squads

Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Danushka Gunathilaka, Seekkuge Prasanna, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Asela Gunaratne, Sachith Pathirana, Lakshan Sandakan, Thikshila de Silva, Nuwan Kulasekara

Proteas squad: Farhaan Behardien (Titans, capt), Theunis de Bruyn (Knights), Reeza Hendricks (Highveld Lions), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Heino Kuhn (Titans), David Miller (Knights), Mangaliso Mosehle (Highveld Lions), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras), Dane Paterson (Cape Cobras), Aaron Phangiso (Highveld Lions), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Jon-Jon Smuts (Warriors).

Last five head-to-head results

2016 World T20: South Africa won by 8 wickets in Delhi
2014 World T20: Sri Lanka won by five runs in Chittagong
2013 3rd T20I: Sri Lanka won by six wickets in Hambantota
2013 2nd T20I: South Africa won by 22 runs in Hambantota
2013 1st T20I: South Africa won 12 runs in Colombo

T20 International Schedule:

Friday, 20 January 2017: 1st International, SuperSport Park, 18h00

Sunday, 22 January 2017: 2nd International, Wanderers, 14h30

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 3rd International, Newlands, 18h00

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