Sri Lanka hopes to win despite team weaknesses in previous matches.
Sri Lanka team hopes for a World Cup miracle after losing eight out of their nine recent one-day international matches and having changed six captains since 2017. Not only that but their fielding has been below par in the past two years and they have poor catching.
The other weaknesses of the team showed against their 5-0 ODI match against South Africa on March where they did not last in any of the full 50 overs games that went the distance. No Sri Lankan batsmen scored a century in the series until batsman Isuru Udana who produced the team’s best innings of 78.
Besides their shortcomings in their recent ODI matches, the team is now led by Test and ODI captain Dimuth Karunaratne who has not played a 50-over cricket since 2015. This is mostly because of his low-scoring rate in limited-overs matches.
Additionally, the team lacks quality spin bowler after all-rounder Akila Dananjaya, who was being groomed as a spinner for World Cup, proved a shadow of his former self after having his bowling action in 2018, which got him suspended, remodelled.
To replace Dananjaya, the Lions placed leg-spinners Jeffrey Vandersay and Jeevan Mendis as their primary options for the tournament. This is despite both athletes not playing a single ODI match in the previous 18 months at the time of selection.
However, Karunaratne showed his skills when he scored 77 of 88 balls that led his team to a 35-run win over Scotland this Tuesday via the Duckworth-Lewis method. Bowler Lasith Malinga led the team’s pace attack after being titled a champion bowler with Mumbai Indians in the recently finished Indian Premier League.
Despite this success, Test opener Karunaratne who is regarded to be one of the best batsmen in the five-day format, would have to perform a miracle to make his team into serious contenders in the tournament. Fielding coach Steve Rixon would also have to turn things around to improve the team’s fielders.
Sri Lanka will start their World Cup campaign on June 1 against New Zealand.