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Injury concerns for Sri Lanka ahead of Champions Trophy opener against South Africa

The Sri Lankan Cricket team has been dealt with a major blow as their captain Angelo Mathews is likely to be ruled out of their first Champions Trophy match against South Africa to be played on 3rd June at Kennington Oval, London. Upul Tharanga will lead in his place if Mathews misses out.

Angelo Mathews has been suffering from hamstring injuries. The Sri Lankan captain suffered injury to his groin during the second T20 against South Africa in January this year and was ruled out of the entire series. He also missed the tri series in Zimbabwe last year due to injuries to his legs.

Mathews plays an important role in the middle over for Sri Lanka. He scored 95 in 106 balls during the first warm-up match against Australia but did not take part in the second warm-up match against New Zealand. Despite Sri Lanka scoring 356 they lost the match by 6 wickets.

“Mathews had complained of stiffness and pain, prompting the team management to conduct radiographic investigations, which revealed a strain on the muscle,” an SLC release said. “He will engage in supervised recovery over the next few days but will most likely sit out the first group stage match.”

Sri Lanka have been clubbed with India, Pakistan and South Africa. Their performance in ODI format for the past 1 year has not been up to mark. Mathews was fit before Sri Lanka’s departure to United Kingdom for Champions Trophy. Last time Sri Lanka reached the semi-finals of this tournament before losing to India.

Angelo Mathews made his ODI debut for Sri Lanka in 2008. Since then he has played a total of 180 ODI’s with a total of 4,492 runs. His best score in ODI format is 139*. Apart from he can bowl medium pace bowling in conditions which helps fast bowlers. He has taken a total of 111 wickets with an economy of 4.63.

He was made the captain of the Sri Lanka ODI side in February 2013. Sri Lanka needs to play aggressive cricket against South Africa who lost the ODI series against hosts England by 1-2. The Sri Lankan team have good batting line up with the likes of Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaranthe, Thisara Perera, Sekkuge Prasanna, Chamara Kapugedra. It is the bowling that lacks variety with Malinga out of form, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekra, Suranga Lakmal.

If Sri Lanka are to win their first match against South Africa, both their batsmen and bowlers needs to deliver as a unit. They lost the ODI series against South Africa 0-5. Angelo Mathews is a key player for the Sri Lankan player for some time and if he misses out then Sri Lankan team could lose the plot in the tournament. The youngsters of the Sri Lankan team have to come to the party and show their ability against a strong South African unit.