Australia play their first T20 since winning the T20 World Cup on Friday when they host Sri Lanka in the first of five T20 internationals the two sides will play over the next week or so as they both start their preparations for the next World Cup in this format which is getting closer by the day.
This opening match comes from Sydney and begins what should be a decent couple of weeks of T20 cricket with one side looking to prove why they are the world champions and the other aiming to show their recent improvement is being maintained.
It is crazy to think that it is only three months ago that Australia were denying Pakistan and New Zealand to win the World T20 in the UAE given everything that has happened since then. They have won The Ashes once again and now seen their head coach depart in what has been an incredible few months even by Australia standards. This is the chance for them to let cricket do the talking once again after the fallout of the Langer resignation though.
Understandably with all the cricket they have coming up in 2022, Australia have chosen to rest one or two key names from the T20 World Cup winning side but in the main they look to be taking things seriously and with the Big Bash having only finished a couple of weeks ago everyone should be up to speed and ready to go in this format of the game. If Australia bat well in these matches then they are entitled to be very tough to beat.
Having started the year looking absolutely horrendous in this format, Sri Lanka generally improved nicely as the year went on and that culminated in a positive showing at the World T20 where they managed to make it into the group stage of the next one later this year rather than having to go through the first stage again. That was a real achievement actually but they showed in that tournament that they could blossom into dangers later in the year and here is another chance to highlight that.
Back at the beginning of last year Sri Lanka had major concerns about their batting in this format of the game but a couple of very promising youngsters have shown their hand and all of a sudden they look handy in that department. Now the attention will turn to the classy seamers they have. If they can use these conditions to their advantage, and they have the skillset to do that, then they might be dark horses when they come back to Australia for the World Cup later in the year.
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Australia have already named their side for this match and there will be no Dave Warner or Mitchell Marsh for this match. Ben McDermott will open the batting after his excellent Big Bash campaign and Josh Inglis will come in at three.
Sri Lanka will be without Kusal Mendis who tested positive for Covid not long after he entered the country. The remainder of the side will be very similar to the one which featured at the T20 World Cup back in November.
I think we’ll get a high scoring opening match here. We saw during the Big Bash League that the Sydney Cricket Ground is full of runs and I don’t expect that to change here. Australia showed at the World Cup that they bat very deep here and it remains to be seen whether Sri Lanka will find their bowlers getting any joy out of these conditions having not had a warm up match to adjust to the different lengths they are going to have to bowl.
There is a lot more talent and excitement within this Sri Lanka batting unit these days though and they should enjoy the ball coming onto the bat and allow them to express themselves. Much like Australia they have huge depth to their batting and have some confident players to get stuck into the bowling. The run line for this opening T20 is 316.5 which looks a little on the low side based on the Big Bash so I like the over here.
Back Over 316.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365