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Team preview: Sri Lanka

CWC19 feature

Sri Lanka go into this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup ranked ninth out of the tenth competitors, with only Afghanistan behind in the ODI Team Rankings.

But their fans will be hoping they can get everything to click as they look to repeat the 1996 World Cup victory. Sri Lankans will be drawing on the fact that their team has made two of the last three World Cup finals. The question is if this Sri Lanka team can display that big tournament pedigree. 

Strengths and weakness 

As you would expect from a team who has been dropping down the table in recent years there are a number of question marks in this team, not least the captaincy – there have been three changes in captaincy in recent months. The man who will be leading the team is this tournament is Dimuth Karunarathne, having not played an ODI in four years before his most recent recall to this team as skipper. Dinesh Chandimal, the most recent long-term captain has been left out of the squad altogether.

Lasith Malinga can still turn a game despite his reduction in pace in recent years, and the talismanic Angelo Mathews may not be captain nowadays, but he can still be an on field leader. 

Key player 

Thisara Perera:The importance of all-rounders in modern one-day cricket cannot be underestimated, and in Thisara Perera can turn a game with the bat and ball. A bustling left-arm pacer and attacking middle order batsman, if he can have a consistent across this tournament Sri Lanka can be pushing teams hard.

X factor 

Isuru Udana: The player in this Sri Lankan who will really get pulses racing is Isuru Udana. With a career strike rate of 121 in ODIs and 151 in T20 Internationals, Udana is more than capable of destroying a bowling attack in the death overs. He has just one fifty in ODIs so far, the 78 from 57 balls he made against South Africa in March, this World Cup is the chance for this to add to that tally, and if he does it will be exciting to watch.

Tournament history 

Sri Lanka have one World Cup win, the title they won in 1996 under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga. That tournament was won on the back of an opening partnership of Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana who went a long way to revolutionising limited overs batting. Since then everyone else has started to take advantage of opening PowerPlays. 

The next final that the Sri Lankans reached was in 2007 in the Caribbean where they lost to an all-conquering Australian team with Gilchrist making 149 from just 104 balls to take that match away from them.

They were back in the final four years later, with MS Dhoni being the batsman who took the game away them. Mahela Jayawardene made a brilliant 103 from 88 balls, but that wasn’t enough with Dhoni blasting a big six down the ground to win the game. 

Recent form (most recent first)

W NR L L L L L L L L

Fixtures

1 June: v New Zealand, Cardiff Wales Stadium
4 June: v Afghanistan, Cardiff Wales Stadium
7 June:v Pakistan, Bristol County Ground
11 June: v Bangladesh, Bristol County Ground
15 June: v Australia, The Oval, London
21 June:v England, Headingley, Leeds
28 June: v South Africa, The Riverside Durham, Chester-Le-Street
1 July:v West Indies, The Riverside Durham, Chester-Le-Street
6 July:v India, Headingley, Leeds

Squad

Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffery Vandersay, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana

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