Two World Cups with a similarity, the final was played between Australia and Sri Lanka. While in the first one the Lankans lifted the cup, Australia laughed the final laugh in 2007. After more than a decade later, the teams face off at The Oval under very different circumstances.
Australia, defending World Champions, have not looked at the peak of their form this time around. While their win against Afghanistan was dominating, but they had lucky escapes in both of their games against West Indies and Pakistan, as the opponent team collapsed when they needed to show a bit of maturity. And in their other match, they were beaten by India fairly comfortably. Australia have a problem with finding ten overs from the fifth bowler, who is apparently made up of part timers. Marcus Stoinis is still injured, and Mitchell Marsh is yet to catch up with the team. Australia is likely to go forward with their four pacer plan, but their lower middle order would also be a concern for them as they crumbled in the Pakistan match and could not capitalize on a solid foundation.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka was lauded to finish last among the teams, but two wash-outs and a win against Afghanistan has put them on fifth place, apparently just outside the top four. They might feel lucky considering the fact that both the matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh was abandoned and they got a point, as they were firm underdogs in both the matches. Their batting lineup is far from stable, and is always a doubt to perform against quality bowling. Their bowling has been a tad better, but still has questions around it with Nuwan Pradeep out. Pradeep was ruled out of the Bangladesh game, but trained in the nets, albeit stays a doubt for the match.
Marcus Stoinis is out for Australia as they look to continue with their four fast bowlers. They will look to complete the other ten overs from Maxwell, Finch and Smith, who had fairly good net sessions with the ball in hand. Changes in the batting lineup is highly unlikely, so Australia most probably will field the same team they had against Pakistan.
Probable Lineup - 1. Aaron Finch ©, 2. David Warner, 3. Steve Smith, 4. Usman Khawaja, 5. Shaun Marsh, 6. Glenn Maxwell, 7. Alex Carey (wk), 8. Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9. Mitchell Starc, 10. Pat Cummins, 11. Kane Richardson
Even though Nuwan Pradeep took part in the net sessions, he remains a doubt for the game on Saturday. Sri Lanka will have Lasith Malinga in their ranks, who has returned to England after attending his mother-in-law’s funeral. Pradeep might be rested if Malinga is deemed fit to play.
Probable Lineup - 1. Dimuth Karunaratne ©, 2. Kusal Perera (wk), 3. Lahiru Thirimanne, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Dhananjaya de Silva, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Isuru Udana, 9. Jeevan Mendis, 10. Suranga Lakmal, 11. Lasith Malinga
Pitch and Conditions
The Oval has looked slower than the other English pitches, but considering a new pitch being used, it might turn out to be different.
The weather forecast predicts overcast conditions, but the chances of rain remain low.