Champions Trophy: Lanka opt to field against Proteas
London [UK], June 3 (ANI): Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field against South Africa in their first Group B encounter of the Champions Trophy here at the Kennington Oval, London on Saturday.
Sri Lanka, who are coming into the tournament as 'underdogs', are without the services of their regular skipper Angelo Mathews, who is nursing a calf injury. In his absence, vice captain Upul Tharanga is leading the side.
Speakin g at the toss, Tharanga said, "We will bowl first, overcast conditions – there might be some help early on. Hopefully, Mathews will be ready for the next game. The management has faith in me, hopefully, I will live up to expectations."
"We are going into the game as underdogs, which is good for us," he added.
Meanwhile, Proteas skipper AB de Villiers exuded confidence on his side's bowling saying, "We were bowling first as well, but we are confident about our abilities – we are well prepared, we found our rhythm towards the end of the ODI series against England, we are well prepared and raring to go."
Sri Lanka has struggled of late, and not just against South Africa. Since the start of 2016, Sri Lanka has played 27 ODIs, winning seven and losing 15.
Apart from the series sweep by South Africa, Sri Lanka played out a tied series at home against Bangladesh, and its most disappointing performance came when it lost to Scotland in a practice match leading up to the Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka also lost both its warm-up games, to Australia and New Zealand.
On the other hand, the Proteas head into the contest as firm favourites, having won their last seven consecutive ODIs against Sri Lanka, including a 5-0 whitewash earlier in 2017.
The last time South Africa took on Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy was in 2009 in Centurion and Sri Lanka notched up a 55-run win.
South Africa Playing XI: Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, JP Duminy, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Sri Lanka Playing XI: Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga. (ANI)