It has taken over a month of cricket and 38 ODI’s in the World Cup to produce the first match of the tournament where two eliminated teams will be playing for pride - West Indies and Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street.
While the Windies started the tournament off with a bang, defeating Pakistan easily, the fire that their fast bowlers showed started to dwindle and dissipate with every passing loss.
Their batsman, used to playing in T20 style have found it difficult to build and pace their innings, often getting out to rash shots.
They have driven Australia and New Zealand close to defeat, but a rush of blood from their batsmen have made a mess of two gettable run-chases.
In-between was a game against Bangladesh where they batted well in parts, but the one-dimensional bowling got badly exposed, as Bangladesh chased down a score above 300 for the first and only time this tournament.
And then there was the knock-out blow, delivered by India in the last game, which was a disappointing affair with both bat and ball for Jason Holder’s team.
Sri Lanka on the other hand, came into the tournament with a lot of changes and a new captain and no one gave them a chance to win more than a game, perhaps over Afghanistan.
An expected win over Afghanistan followed and then there were a few games against Pakistan and Bangladesh that got washed out (of which the latter they most likely would have lost).
But with the tournament promising a dead rubber like this much earlier and top four places almost fixed, Sri Lanka defeated England for the upset of the tournament and give themselves along with Bangladesh and Pakistan a chance to make top four.
That however hit a stumbling block as they were defeated by nine wickets by another eliminated team, South Africa, and now England’s win over India means that the Lankans have finally been eliminated.
Previously, these two island nations have met six times in World Cups and the Windies have won four and lost twice.
Sri Lanka will have to replace Nuwan Pradeep who is out of the tournament with chicken pox and Kasun Rajitha might get an opportunity at a World Cup debut. Jeevan Mendis has been out of form with the bat and he might be making way for Milinda Siriwardana.
Sri Lanka’s Probable XI: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Avishka Fernando, 4 Kusal Mendis, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Jeevan Mendis/Milinda Siriwardana, 7 Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Kasun Rajitha
The Windies might want to bring in Evin Lewis, if he is fit in place of Sunil Ambris, but other than that, they might want to stick to the same team.
West Indies’ Probable XI: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis/Sunil Ambris, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Carlos Brathwaite, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Oshane Thomas
Pitch and Weather
The pitch that was used in the last game between South Africa and Sri Lanka will be used and it should be a good one for batting. It could give Sri Lanka an edge since they have experience of playing here, although they lost badly.
Teams batting second have won four out of the last five games so whoever wins the toss might want to bowl first, despite their frailties in chasing.
The weather is forecast to be cloudy and windy, so rain could be a factor in the match.