Sri Lanka will head into their second match of the World Cup on the back of a disappointing 10-wicket loss against last edition’s runners-up - New Zealand. Dimuth Karunaratane-led Sri Lanka will hope that his squad will be able to register a win against Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens on Tuesday.
Lahiru Thirimanne: Thirimanne has a glowing reputation back in his homeland but is yet to achieve the same success on the international stage. An average of 34.87 is a testament to the 29-year old’s abilities and the match against Afghanistan will serve as the perfect occasion to announce his arrival on the big stage.
Dimuth Karunaratane(C): While the rest of his team crumbled around him, Karunaratane was the sole Lankan cricketer to cross the 30-run mark against New Zealand in the WC opener. He scored a slow-paced 52 as Sri Lanka lost the match by 10 wickets and will hope to bounce back against Afghanistan.
Jeevan Mendis: At 36, Mendis is one of the most senior players in the Lankan team along with Lasith Malinga. Mendis earned a spot in the WC squad on the back of impressive displays in Sri Lankan domestic cricket and will be expected to contribute with both bat and ball at the ongoing WC.
Kusal Perera: Perera is renowned for his aggressive approach to the game as he applies his skills in the middle-order of the Sri Lankan batting unit. However, the tricky bowling spin bowling unit of Afghanistan could serve as a major challenge for the wicket-keeper ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Kusal Mendis: 24-year old Mendis was dismissed for a first-ball duck to a Lockie Ferguson delivery in the match against Kane Williamson & Co. With an average of 28.2 Mendis will need to prove his worth in the coming weeks if he wants to hold onto a spot in the starting XI
Dhananjaya De Silva: Another victim of Ferguson’s bowling in the first game, De Silva is Sri Lanka’s premier spinner and is also more than capable of delivering with the bat. He will definitely be involved in the match against Afghanistan and could be the key difference between both sides on Tuesday.
Thisara Perera: The veteran all-rounder tried to put some runs on the board against the Kiwis with a fast-paced 27 off 23 balls before he fell prey to a Mitchell Santner delivery. A healthy strike rate of 112.35 makes Perera a dangerous finisher with the bat and is also a handy bowling option in the middle overs.
Angelo Matthews: Former Sri Lanka captain, Angelo Matthews, is one of the more senior members in the national side and will be expected to lead against Afghanistan. Matthews has a tally of 5381 runs from 205 ODIs with Sri Lanka and is more than capable of scoring big runs in the ongoing WC.
Isuru Udana: Udana is a late bloomer with the national team and will probably be playing his last World Cup this year. That being said, the 31-year old certainly has the ability to hit the ball a long distance and the game against Afghanistan will give him the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills.
Suranga Lakmal: 32-year old Suranga Lakmal has a decent return of 107 wickets from 83 ODIs with Sri Lanka and will back himself to add to that tally in the match against Afghanistan. An economy rate of 5.44 is good for a pacer in the ODI format and Lakmal will hope to give away as little as possible against the Afghans.
Lasith Malinga: Malinga’s performance with the ball could either make or break the Sri Lankan challenge in the ongoing World Cup in England. Malinga’s tally 322 wickets speak for his skills in the limited-overs format and he will hope to get some early wickets and help his team on Tuesday.
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