South Africa vs Sri Lanka – two teams quite capable of going all the way and lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 title. For one of the two teams, however, their journey at this CWC will end on Wednesday, and below are the key factors/clashes which will decide the outcome of this quarterfinal in Sydney.
Tillakaratne Dilshan vs Dale Steyn: Dilshan smashed the living daylights out of Mitchell Johnson the last time Sri Lanka played at the SCG, and the in-form opener will have his sights on dominating another one of the world's leading fast bowlers. One of the keys to Sri Lanka's fortunes at this World Cup so far has been the form of Dilshan and Steyn will know the importance of his wicket, so expect the Proteas fast bowler to come steaming in.
Kumar Sangakkara vs South Africa bowlers: Fast, medium pace, swing, spin – it doesn't matter to the left-hander, he has been absolutely brilliant. Not one South Africa bowler will be looking forward to bowling to Sangakkara, with the Sri Lankan legend looking ungetoutable. If Sangakkara marches on to his fifth straight hundred at this World Cup, and if it comes in the first innings, then South Africa will be in deep trouble.
Hashim Amla vs Lasith Malinga: One, a classy batsman who just seems to get better and better, the other a unique bowler whose made one-day bowling his own. Amla has not quite hit the heights expected of him at this World Cup – for a mere mortal his stats would be pretty brilliant – and what better time to showcase his talent than a World Cup quarterfinal. Malinga has been here and done it before, and even if he is not his usual menacing best anymore, Amla will have to be at his best to stop the "Slinger" from running away with the match up front.
AB De Villiers vs anyone who bowls to him: De Villiers smashes those fours and sixes like only he can en route to a hundred, and South Africa will win. The South Africa skipper can be the most devastating batsman on his day, and if the SCG gets to witness an ABD masterclass, then Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene might just have played their last game in a Sri Lankan ODI shirt.
The SCG crowd: The last time Sri Lanka played at the SCG they had tremendous support, and that too despite facing the hosts Australia. South Africa are not the most followed side on the planet, and the Sri Lankan crowd, with that music and gay abandon that always comes with them, will be the majority. It remains to be seen if that 12th man will come into effect come Wednesday, because the last time South Africa faced up to a partisan crowd (read the MCG vs India) things did not go too well for them.