Australia v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, Group A, Cardiff June 16, 2013

Three teams queue up for semi spot

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Match facts

Monday, June 17, The Oval
Start time 1300 (1200 GMT)

Big Picture

Amid the vexing appearances of rain in the last few days, three of the four teams will nervously wait for the result of the final Group B match. Sri Lanka, who more often than not make it to the knockouts in ICC tournaments, just need a win; if they win big - that is, by about 90 runs in a full 50-over game - they can better England's net run rate and finish top of the group. Australia, who have looked a shadow of their usual selves, need to win by about 125 runs to lift their NRR above that of New Zealand and knock them out. If they bat second and Sri Lanka score 200, Australia will need to chase the target down in about 27 overs. New Zealand, who looked good to make it to the next round till a day ago, need Australia to win but not absolutely thump Sri Lanka. The London weather may interrupt the match but is expected to hold better than in Cardiff or Edgbaston.

If Sri Lanka do beat Australia by a big enough margin to leap over England, they will fix a semi-final date with South Africa at The Oval. The second-placed team from the group will play India in Cardiff.

Although, Sri Lanka and New Zealand have better chances than Australia, it is Sri Lanka who have the situation in their control. Their batting showed form during the chase against England and their bowling was exceptional in the narrow loss to New Zealand. However, they have shown over-dependence on their three stalwarts for steering their batting and their long-awaited young brigade is yet to show signs of maturity. Sangakkara was the lone ranger against New Zealand and led the chase against England with a brilliant century. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene played useful hands at The Oval too, but if Sri Lanka are to make further progress, their young batsmen will need to shoulder some of the burden of the seniors.

Australia find themselves in a strange position. The team has cruised to the knockout stages in the past, but this time, they are in danger of being eliminated without a win. Michael Clarke admitted the team was affected by the off-field controversies, but on the field they have lacked punch in their batting. The failures of Shane Watson and the absence of David Warner and Clarke have meant the batting order has never looked menacing. Stand-in captain George Bailey has shown good form with his two half-centuries, but if Australia are to make a serious attempt at improving their net run rate apart from winning the game, they will need Watson to fire.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed games)

Australia: LWWWW

Sri Lanka: WLLWL

Watch out for...

It was against Sri Lanka earlier this year that Phillip Hughes burst into one-day international cricket with a century on debut and proved that he should not be considered a Test-only player. Three single-figure scores followed but he finished the five-match series in Australia with another hundred, an unbeaten 138 that set up an Australian victory to draw the series. Hughes' free-wheeling style can be suited to the 50-over format but he is yet to show his best form on this trip and threw his wicket away against England when he became tied down. A big score could not only help Australia stay in the series but might give Hughes the morale boost he needs ahead of the Ashes.

A confident Nuwan Kulasekara is not what the Australians were hoping to face in this match. Fortunately for them his form in the previous match was most impressive for his batting - a brilliant 58 not out from 38 balls as a pinch-hitting No.5 - rather than his bowling. But they know precisely how dangerous he can be in swinging conditions, as they found to their detriment at the Gabba earlier this year. Kulasekara was the architect of Sri Lanka's outstanding bowling effort to dismiss Australia for 74 in a match in which the hosts were lucky not to fall for their lowest ever ODI total, as they were 9 for 40 when the final pair came together. Rest assured that this Australian batting line-up will be just as wary of Kulasekara at The Oval as they will of the always threatening Lasith Malinga.

Team news

Michael Clarke trained with the squad in the lead-up to the match but was still considered an unlikely starter, with Australia's medical staff and team management taking a cautious approach with his back injury ahead of the Ashes. Xavier Doherty came in for Mitchell Starc last game and is expected to retain his position.

Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Phillip Hughes, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Adam Voges, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.

Shaminda Eranga was expensive in the win over England at the same venue and could be challenged for a place in the side by either Thisara Perera or the spinner Sachithra Senanayake.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kusal Perera, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 Lahiru Thirimanne, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Thisara Perera / Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Lasith Malinga.

Pitch and conditions

There were plenty of runs available at The Oval when England and Sri Lanka played there on Thursday and the forecast for London on Monday is for a cloudy day with the risk of showers.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have won six of their past 10 one-day internationals against Australia

  • Should Australia fail to progress past the group stage it will be the first time since 2000 that they have not reached the semi-finals of a Champions Trophy or ICC KnockOut

  • Kulasekara needs 19 runs and one wicket to become the fourth Sri Lankan to the double of 1000 runs and 150 wickets in ODIs, after Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas and Upul Chandana

  • Adam Voges has played Australia's past four ODIs, his longest consecutive streak of matches in a spread-out career spanning nearly six and a half years

Quotes

"In the last two years or so we've been very consistent against Australia and we've played them very well. We managed to handle a lot of situations better than them, so hopefully we can continue that."
Mahela Jayawardene

"Once someone in the top four goes on to make a hundred, the other guys bat around him. I'd like to see that happen in this game."
Australia's captain Michael Clarke on the need for more runs from the top order

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on June 17, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Which ever team qualifies will play India. So, who ever wins here will surely be dangerous side and India must be careful

  • Greatest_Game on June 17, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Gotta love this line in the preview: "the absence of David Warner … meant the batting order has never looked menacing." Should have read "… never looked MORE menacing."

    In the Aus squad, batsmen averaging 44+ are (lo to hi): Faulkner, Hughes, Clarke, Bailey, & Voges -the only +50! Watson has 41.65.

    The below 30 club is Warner vs Maxwell. Warner's ave is .96 better, but Maxwell's SR is 32 HIGHER - 112.68 to 80.5. Max is maybe handy with the ball in ODIs, but not inspiring @ ave 52. Warner is low on the totem pole, with a *LPA of 0 & not menacing!!

    @ Dylan Young. The above 40 batting 5 pick themselves, then Maxwell ( "2nd spinner) Wade, & Doherty - specialist spinner.

    That leaves 4 spots. The quicks aves: Starc 19, McKay 21, Johnson 25.5. Starc & Johnson lefties, McKay, Faulkner, Watson righty,. Marsh & Coulter-Nile mysteries! Only Starc & McKay, Johnson have enough stats to go on, so 1 spot left. Mysteries Marsh or Coulter-Nile. Wow! Selection nightmare!

    *Landed Punch Ave

  • espncricinfomobile on June 17, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Yes really irritating when rain wash away the game I don't know why ICC not taking any Initiative? Their must follow up with weather Forecast it's really no excitement at all ICC championship 2013 all ruin even teams gets sick of weather can't show their scale in 50 over match? Good teams losing preparing for 50 OV but had to play D/L methods? They must change the shidule if there are chance of raining make a indoor cricket to finish the tournament if rains?

  • MichaelBurton on June 17, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    @regofpicton: TheBigBoodha has a point there. The way net run rate calculated is as correctly mentioned by you. but his points was not taking the number of wickets as a weighting factor as the duckworth Lewis method.

  • LisaDun on June 17, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Sorry, I meant to say, if today game is washed out, NZ goes through to the semifinals ahead of SL (3 point each, but NZ ahead on NRR), not top the group.

  • Des_65 on June 17, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    TheBigboodha, NRR is based on one teams RR minus others RR. So, number of overs don't matter.

  • wibblewibble on June 17, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Don't really get why people are moaning about the weather, We've only one game has been washed out in the entire CT13, Aus vs NZ, and even that game had 65 completed overs in it.

    Every single other game has had a competitive match, sometimes with reduced overs and D/L calculations, sometimes the full overs. This is how cricket in the UK happens - as and when you can. This summer is no different to any other summer.

  • dummy4fb on June 17, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    I want Australia to win the match.

  • dummy4fb on June 17, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    What will happen if aussie wins and equal their nrr as tht of kiwis?

  • Shaggy076 on June 17, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    FAB_ALI - "Australia does not deserve to go through with pathetic and mediocre performances thus far" - what with one mediocre performance didnt Sri Lanka score 129 well they dont deserve it either with that pathetic performance. Try and read over your posts before posting. Thyagu5432 "When you fall from the top, it can get pretty nasty. Thats what has happened to the Aussies." - Your right been a hard fall from first to second. Lost one one day series in 3 years, even lost ONE game at a champions trophy. Yes it has been very nasty indeed. What would happen if we actually lost two games.