Sri Lanka lost their first match to Namibia, but, after that, they dominated UAE and were in control for much of the fixture against Netherlands. Ireland lost to Zimbabwe, but got past Scotland and, notably, West Indies.
Both teams have arrived in the Super 12s with a bit of confidence, but also knowing they must still prove themselves in this phase of the tournament. For Ireland, a victory here would be their second successive giant-killing act – the feather of another former T20 World Cup winner to decorate their cap. They appear to take particular pleasure in chasing, with their middle order having been excellent against Scotland, before the top order thumped West Indies.
Sri Lanka are clear favourites going in, but their trip through the qualifiers has taken a heavy toll. Dushmantha Chameera – their premier fast bowler – has been ruled out of the tournament, with other quicks also picking up injuries. Ahead of this match, two top-order batters – Danushka Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka – are also carrying injuries. They do have their ace spinners in Wanindu Hasaranga, and Maheesh Theekshana. But in Hobart, perhaps they will not be quite as threatening as they were on sluggish pitches in Geelong.
Dasun Shanaka wants himself and Bhanuka Rajapaksa ‘to kick on’
(completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWLWW
In the spotlight
Curtis Campher is most well-known for his four wickets in four balls in the World Cup last year, but in this edition, it is his batting that has helped carry Ireland into the Super 12s. He is the team’s top scorer from the qualifying stage, having made 99 runs off 54 for the tournament so far. This is especially impressive because he bats down at No. 5.
How do you stop Wanindu Hasaranga? He bowls cheap overs, gets excellent wickets with his googly, fields beautifully, occasionally produces a match-turning innings. He is the joint-highest wicket-taker in the first stage, along with Netherlands’ Bas de Leede, and could be on the way to another top World Cup wicket-taker placing. Ireland might do well to play him out quietly.
Wanindu Hasaranga could be on the way to another top World Cup wicket-taker placing•ICC via Getty Images
Pitch and conditions
Bellerive Oval in Hobart is one of the smaller grounds used for the Super 12, and has been known to be especially unkind to wristspinners, which may play into Ireland’s hands. Showers are forecast for the afternoon, but there should be enough time to get a game in, even if curtailed.
Nissanka and Gunathilaka are both ruled out of at least this game, so Ashen Bandara is going to open. There is a question mark over Pramod Madushan’s fitness too.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Kusal Mendis (wk), 2 Ashen Bandara, 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, 4 Charith Asalanka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Binura Fernando, 11 Lahiru Kumara
Ireland are likely to go in with the same XI that beat West Indies.
Ireland (possible): 1 Paul Stirling, 2 Andy Balbirnie (capt), 3 Lorcan Tucker (wk), 4 Harry Tector, 5 Curtis Campher, 6 George Dockerell, 7 Gareth Delany, 8 Mark Adair, 9 Simi Singh, 10 Barry McCarthy, 11 Josh Little
Balbirnie: Reaching Super 12s is huge for this group
Stats and trivia
“I’m not surprised that Ireland came into the Super 12s because Ireland was last year playing good cricket. They are getting better and better as a team and even bowling, batting, fielding, all three of the formats they’re doing really well. So I’m not surprised.”
Sri Lanka allrounder Chamika Karunaratne