Sri Lanka will host South Africa at Colombo for the first T20 international of the series on 2 August. The game follows five ODI matches in which South Africa were beaten by their South Asian opponents. Sri Lanka emerged 4-1 winners in the series and South Africa will be hoping for some measure of revenge in the upcoming T20 series. Sri Lanka's top-order batsmen were in particularly good form and the loss of Dale Steyn seemed to severely hamper their opponents bowling attack. Sri Lanka are currently the number one T20 international team in the world while South Africa are ranked sixth. The South Asian nation has one four of their last five T20 internationals, while their opponents have won only two of their last five. As a result, Sri Lanka will go into the game as heavy favourites. South Africa, however, will be encouraged by their victory in the last (and only) T20 match against Sri Lanka.
Both teams will be changing their captain for the shorter format. For Sri Lanka, Dinesh Chandimal takes over the captaincy from Angelo Matthews. Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan should lead the batting line-up after their impressive form in the ODI's. Nuwan Kulasekara, who has been missing for three weeks due to a finger injury, is back in the squad for the game. Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Perera and Angelo Perera have also earned their places in the squad after impressive performances in the ODI series. Rangana Herath has been excluded from the team as the two spinners chosen are Ajanta Mendis and Sachitra Senanayake. The irrepressible Lasith Malinga will lead the bowling attack.
Faf du Plessis takes up the captaincy for South Africa and the player spoke of his team's quest to make amends for the ODI series defeat.
"We were outplayed by Sri Lanka in the ODIs so we are going to have to dig deep that is going to be important," Du Plessis said. "We have a lot of pride in our team; we don't want to go down in this series. We want to compete and win it."
With Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis still absent, the Proteas will be looking to AB De Villiers and JP Duminy to score big runs. Kings XI Punjab batsmen David Miller, who proved his credentials during the last IPL, will also hope to play well on the international stage. Leg-spinner Imran Tahir and all-rounders Wayne Parnell, David Wiese are the new arrivals ahead of the game.
Where to Watch
The match starts at 7pm IST on Friday and live coverage is available on Ten Cricket.