Cricket World Cup preview
Tough Cricket World Cup awaits Sri Lanka
Published : Thursday, 23 May, 2019 at 10:58 PM Count : 311
Only the most diehard Sri Lankan cricket fan will expect the Sri Lankans to have a good Cricket World Cup. Their record over the last 18 months has been abject with only seven wins. This week’s victory over Scotland is the first time Sri Lanka have won away from home since January 2018.
Turmoil on and off the pitch has resulted in a weakened Sri Lankan team being selected. Plenty of changes were made for the squad going to England including Dimuth Karunaratne becoming the sixth ODI captain in two years. Furthermore, nine of the squad are over the age of 30.
It is difficult to see where Sri Lanka is going to make enough runs to win games against teams like England and India. As much as Sri Lanka needed to improve their batting, the omissions of Chandimal and Tharanga have not helped their cause. The most experienced batter is Lahiru Thirimanne with 118 ODIs at an average of 35.17 while KusalMendis (28.67), Avishka Fernando (24.16) and Karunaratne (20.53) are all averaging less than 30 from a combined total of 87 ODIs. Wicketkeeper KusalPerera averages 29.26 but this average drops to 20 in England. This lack of run scoring will hurt Sri Lanka’s match-winning ability.
Lasith Malinga, in his last Cricket World Cup, will be carrying the bowling unit. Malinga’s efficacy has waned as the bowler gets older, but Sri Lanka’s reliance on him to take wickets speaks volumes. SurangaLakmal and Nuwan Pradeep will hope that English conditions suit their style of bowling while Jeffrey Vandersay’s selection reeks of desperation. With ten wickets in 11 ODIs, Vandersay’s recall will not worry many batters in this tournament.
Sri Lanka has selected six all-rounders including a deserved recall for Angelo Mathews.
Dhananjaya de Silva, ThisaraPerera, IsuruUdana, Jeevan Mendis and MilindaSiriwardana make up the squad and bring a mixture of fast-medium and spin bowling. I fully expect the Sri Lankan selectors to regularly change their teams to try and find the best possible combination of players.
Apart from Malinga and Mathews, none of the other players would even get close to being selected for Sri Lanka’s victorious squad of 1996. Bangladesh will have this game marked as a ‘must win’ if they are to mount a challenge for the semi-finals.
Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh
When: Tuesday, 11th June10:30am local time (3:30pm Bangladesh Standard Time)
Where: Bristol County Ground, Bristol
CWC Best: Winners 1996
Previous CWC meetings: Three losses (2003, 2007, 2015)
Last Five ODIs vs Sri Lanka: W L L W L
Sri Lanka Squad
Angelo Mathews (All-rounder), Avishka Fernando (Bat), Dhananjaya de Silva (All-rounder), Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain & Bat), IsuruUdana (All-rounder), Jeevan Mendis (All-rounder), Jeffrey Vandersay (Bowler), KusalMendis (Wicket-keeper), KusalPerera (Wicket-keeper), Lahiru Thirimanne (Bat), Lasith Malinga (Bowler), MilindaSiriwardana (All-rounder), Nuwan Pradeep (Bowler), SurangaLakmal (Bowler), ThisaraPerera (All-rounder)