Sri Lanka has been at the doorsteps of many a world title in the last decade. But, somehow, they seem to lack the personnel who could force one final push and break the door. No surprises were in store when the team for the ICC World T20 was announced today. Most of the players have now been part of the the team for last couple of years and their consistent performances have taken the team to the top spot in world rankings.
The strong suit for SriLanka will once again be their all round skills. Their batting looks strong and with slow and low wickets in Bangladesh, they can expect their top order to score heavily. In Tilakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera they have explosive openers who on their day can be a nightmare for any bowling line up. The only question one has, is about their consistency. No excuses will be forthcoming for Dilshan and he himself would like to make a big difference in this tournament, especially it being probably his last T20 World Cup. Kusal Perera who bats like a Sanath Jayasuriya clone could be a player to look out for in the tournament and could be the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle which could push Sri Lanka across the line for the world title. Kumar Sangakarra, the veteran wicketkeeper batsman should provide the usual calming influence at number 3.
He would be hoping for some support from the players around him especially in the big games. MahelaJ ayewardene would follow him the batting order unless Kusal Perera completely fails as an opener and Sri Lanka needs one in the middle of the tournament. Mahela is a very adaptable player who can play according to the situation and is a big match player. Who can forget his amazing century in the finals of 2011 world cup against India when everyone around him succumbedto the pressure of biggame. Sri Lanka will be desperately hoping that he is in a pristine form. Dinesh Chandimal is the skipper of the team and is considered as one of the best talents in the Lankan team. He will have the responsibility not only to make the important calls for the team but also score big runs. How he performs in the tournament will have a big impact on SriLankan fortunes.
Of late Sri Lanka have the luxury of some very good all-rounders. In Angelo Mathews they probably have one of the gifted finishers in world cricket and in the form of Thisara Perera they have one of the explosive lower order hitters of cricket ball. If he gets going no target is far off for the Lankans. Another all-rounder who has been in news and scoring important runs is Sachithra Senanayake. Along with his crafty off spin bowling he has been making valuable contributions for the Lankans. In need arises Sri Lanka can also expect some runs from Kulasekara.Lahiru Thirimanne is the supporting batsman in the squad in case one of the regulars is injured.
Sri Lankan bowling department is no mug and possess the variety, which is expected of a team favorite to win the title. They have worlds leading T20 bowler in the form of Lasith “Slinga“ Malinga. He has won many a match for the Lankans single handedly from hopeless situations. His toe crushing yorkers and slower balls have enchanted many cricket lovers all over the world. No matter which team you support the sight of Malinga running in is an entertainment in itself.He will be the key for the Lankans in getting early wickets on the docile tracks. Nuwan Kulasekara is a crafty experienced operator who is more than capable of getting some crucial wickets. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera from the last two of the pace quartet. Both of them are experienced operators with change of pace their key weapon. The guile of Sri Lankan bowling lies in their spin bowling which played a crucial part in winning them the world cup in 1996. In AjanthaMendis and Sachithra Senanayake they have two top quality spin bowlers who can not only stop the run flow in middle overs but also get important wickets. Both are expected to be in the starting lineup for the first game of the tournament. If one of them consistently fails, there is Rangana Herath who is probably the best spin bowler in the island or the crafty spinner Seekkuge Prasanna.
With the variety in their bowling attack and strong batting line up along with the recent experience of the Bangladeshi conditions, Sri Lanka stands as one of the favourite’s to lift the title. The only question that remains to be answered is will they be able to cross the line this time around? Only time will tell if they manage to do it, but one hopes that they will continue playing with flair and entertain the cricket lovers.
Sri Lanka Squad for World T20:Dinesh Chandimal (C), LasithMalinga (VC), TillakaratneDilshan, KusalPerera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), MahelaJayawardena, LahiruThirimanne, Angelo Mathews, ThisaraPerera, NuwanKulasekara, SurangaLakmal, RanganaHerath / Chaturanga De Silva, SachithraSenanayake, AjanthaMendis, SeekugePrasanna
Sports Cosmos Prediction: Sri Lanka will reach the semi finals of the T20 World Cup