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ICC World Cup: Australia to face Sri Lanka in Lucknow: Will Australia win today?

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If this World Cup was a party, then you’d think Australia have been like the guys at the bar closest to the door making little song and dance about their presence. And having barely had an impact on proceedings. Sri Lanka on the other hand have been like the enthusiastic fellow who’s set the dance floor alight with a couple of set moves but has then struggled to hold his own or anyone else’s attention for too long.

On Monday (October 16), the two teams will take on each other in a quest to open their account in the tournament. But also, more importantly, to let everyone else know that they are here, and are keen on putting on a lasting show.

To Sri Lanka’s credit, they’ve played a part in two of the more entertaining matches of the World Cup so far, starting with the run-fest against South Africa and the record-chase from Pakistan. Australia though have neither come close to winning nor have they stayed in games long enough to make a match of them. It’s meant that their opening two matches in the tournament have been rather one-sided. To such an extent that they’re coming off their worst defeat ever in a World Cup match, having lost to the South Africans by 134 runs.

While Australia are yet to post a score of 200 or above, Sri Lanka have gone past 300 comfortably in their first two contests.

Pat Cummins referred to his team’s current position as being one where “every game now becomes almost like a final”. Though the length of the tournament will allow for a technical chance for both teams even if they do lose on Monday, the chances of that happening will be minimal. And neither team will want to get into a 0-3 scenario by the time they leave Lucknow. While Australia have had their own share of injury troubles, Sri Lanka have been riddled with players going down and will now play the rest of the tournament without their captain Dasun Shanaka.

Australia’s issues have largely centred around the lack of runs from the middle-order and the inconsistency in wicket-taking during the middle overs. They are issues that they carried into the World Cup after having won only one out of their previous 8 ODIs. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are coming off one of their best runs in the format, which has taken a bit of a blow in their last three games despite having had to qualify for the main draw. So, the onus will be on both teams to not just get moving up the points table but also to break free from their disappointing recent form. And also to ensure that they don’t reach a point this early where a premature exit from the party is guaranteed.


Sri Lanka Squad: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis(c), Sadeera Samarawickrama(w), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushan Hemantha, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dimuth Karunaratne

Australia Squad: Mitchell Marsh, David Warner, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis(w), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins(c), Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Travis Head, Alex Carey, Cameron Green

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