Final Four Beckons

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au, Photo: AFP
Shane Watson is yet to fire at the Champions Trophy. Photo: AFP/heraldsun.com.au
Sri Lanka  can book its place in the last four at the Champions Trophy tournament in England  with a win over two-time defending champion Australia on Monday night (AEST). Despite losing its opening match to the Black Caps, Sri Lanka’s fate is in its own hands after a strong win over England on Thursday.

Angelo Matthews’ side produced a tournament record chase of 3/297 to beat the host nation by seven wickets on Thursday and will rely on more of the same from its top order to ensure it reaches the semi-finals. Although Tillakaratne Dilshan  and Mahela Jayawardene  both made significant contributions at the Oval, former skipper Kumar Sangakkara  was the match winner after cracking an unbeaten 134 from just 135 deliveries. Nuwan Kulasekara played a role with both bat and ball after being drafted into the XI at the expense of Thisara Perera and should retain his place in the team.

Australia will hope to have skipper Michael Clarke  available after he missed the opening two matches of the tournament with a back injury, while Matthew Wade  should get another chance at the top of the order with David Warner still unavailable through suspension. Stand in captain George Bailey  has been the standout player for Australia scoring half centuries in both matches during the tournament, while Xavier Doherty should again keep Mitchell Starc out of the XI.

Australia won by 32 runs at Hobart last time these sides met, but Sri Lanka has won six of the past 10 completed matches between the pair.

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