World Cup

ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 20 – Australia V Sri Lanka – FCN Preview

Australia aiming for top spot on the table

With rain starting to play more and more of a part in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, these washed out matches are starting to benefit some of the weaker teams in the comp. The Sri Lankan’s are a prime example, they’ve only played two matches in the tournament yet find themselves just one game out of the top four on the group stage table. For Australia, they’ve been fortunate with the weather and are yet to experience the worst of the UK’s downpours. The expectation is that Australia will walk away with the two points, elevating them to pole position.

It has been by no means a dominant performance by the Australians so far, however they’re still working out the makeup of their playing XI which is impacting Usman Khawaja in particular. Carrying on from his outstanding IPL campaign, David Warner has already amassed 255 runs in four matches including a quality hundred against Pakistan. Skipper Aaron Finch has looked streaky at times but still managed to find the boundary, while Steve Smith looks to be returning to his former-best with the bat after making sizeable contributions against the Windies and India. One area Sri Lanka can target is Australia’s middle-lower order (given they can make an early breakthrough or two). At the moment it’s Warner, Finch and Smith doing all the scoring,  resulting in a fairly-jumbled middle order that’s been hidden so far. With the loss of Marcus Stoinis, the Aussies would be strongly considering replacing him with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. Australia’s decision to ‘strategically’ play four specialist seamers in their last match seemingly-backfired, expect one of Zampa or Lyon to be included at The Oval.

Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke hit the nail on the head regarding Usman Khawaja’s role in the team, the classy left-hander needs to bat at No. 3, anywhere else would suggest he doesn’t fit in the team’s structure. Given the undeniably-talented Glenn Maxwell is floating anywhere from No. 4 to No. 6, the Aussies might be forced to make a move on Mitch Marsh for that extra bowling option as well. Against a team like Sri Lanka, experimentation wouldn’t overly hurt them. Speaking of uncertain middle orders, Sri Lanka’s is becoming a rather large concern. Experienced-campaigner Angelo Mathews is yet to score a run in two matches, meanwhile Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have managed just 6 runs between them. Kusal Perera looks to be the spark they were after at the top, however he’ll find it challenging against a quality Australian attack. Sri Lanka has a relatively-long tail which should gift them some bonus runs, the question is will it be enough to challenge Australia? It’s very unlikely.

Mitchell Starc and David Warner of Australia celebrate after the dismissal after review of Wahab Riaz during the ICC Cricket World Cup Group Match between Australia and Pakistan at the County Ground on June 12, 2019 in Taunton, England. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Fantasy Breakdown

Top 5 fantasy picks – Australia

  • David Warner
  • Steve Smith
  • Pat Cummins
  • Aaron Finch
  • Mitchell Starc

Wildcard pick – Glenn Maxwell

Top 5 fantasy picks – Sri Lanka

  • Lahiru Thirimanne
  • Lasith Malinga
  • Kusal Mendis
  • Nuwan Pradeep
  • Angelo Mathews

Wildcard pick – Thisara Perera

Predicted Team XI’s

Australia (possible) – 1. David Warner 2. Aaron Finch (c) 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Steve Smith 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Marcus Stoinis/Mitchell Marsh 7. Alex Carey (wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Kane Richardson/Jason Behrendorff.

Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Dimuth Karunaratne (c) 2. Kusal Perera (wk) 3. Lahiru Thirimanne 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Dhananjaya de Silva/Milinda Siriwardana 7. Jeevan Mendis 8. Thisara Perera 9. Isuru Udana/Suranga Lakmal 10. Lasith Malinga 11. Nuwan Pradeep.

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