Having started the World Cup with a humiliating 10 wicket loss to New Zealand, Sri Lanka regained some of their form with a win against Afghanistan though, their performance was still subpar. They’ll be determined to pull one up against Pakistan to build their confidence for future matches.
The Sri Lankan skipper has had a pretty good start in the tournament. After being the last man standing as he saw the batting lineup collapse all around him while he made a resilient half-century, he again got a good start against Afghanistan though he failed to capitalize on it. Having never scored a century in the 20 ODIs he has placed in. Karunaratne will be hoping to break his duck in the biggest stage of them all.
The standout batsman in the last game, if it were not for his well-paced innings of 78 runs from 81 balls, Sri Lanka might have failed to even reach the 150-run mark. With 2,000+ ODI runs to his name, he is one of the team’s experienced players and will be looked upon to give the team a strong foundation while batting.
A former captain of the Lankan ODI team, he has not particularly had an excellent start to the tournament, though his quality is undoubtable, something he has shown time and again throughout his nine years in the team. Players like him will be expected to step up to the plate to solve the team’s batting woes after collapsing to totals of 136 and 201 in the previous games.
Two runs in two games, it could not have been a worse start for the 24-year-old. The middle order collapses in the previous two games have been horrific, and Kusal Mendis has sadly had a role to play in it. However, he has a chance to reconstruct himself as the team’s finest middle-order batsman and all eyes will be on him when he takes the pitch against Pakistan.
Dhananjaya de Silva
Another middle order batsman who has not come anywhere close to fulfilling his potential in the quadrennial tournament. Scoring four runs in two games will be an understatement, but the quality he has shown over the years is likely to earn him a place in the team and give him one more chance to prove his mettle.
206 ODI caps, 5,000+ ODI runs, 100+ wickets, former captain and the best all-rounder in the world at a point of time. Those stats are worthy enough for winning him a place in the starting lineup, but not for long if he keeps performing at the level he has in the past two games. Though he has not got the opportunity to bowl yet, he is yet to trouble the scorers in the tournament and will be banking on his experience of past high-pressure tournaments to bail him out from this slump.
Though he has not been nearly as bad as some of his teammates, he has performed nowhere close to the standards he has set for himself in the past. He has the talent and is a world class all-rounder when he gets going. With 150+ ODI caps to his name, he is one of the team’s experienced players who’ll be relied on to improve Sri Lanka’s performances before it is too late.
Having made his ODI debut way back in 2012 against India, he has only managed to play eight ODIs for the team in a span of seven years after a failed first stint in international colours. Primarily a fast bowler, his evolution into an all-rounder last year has earned him a second shot though he is yet to make much of an impact in the tournament. He will likely be given another chance considering the dearth of worthy replacements in the squad.
He has been in the international circuit for quite some time now and has a decent 107 wickets to his name from 84 innings. His pace and bounce have been known to trouble batsmen in the past and has served as the captain of the team in the red ball format. A top class pick on the day he gets going, he will be backing his skills to trouble the Pakistani batsmen with his lethal bowling.
Over a 15-year career, he has built a reputation for himself as someone who can sweep through batting lineups like a swift breeze with relative ease when he comes to his own. His unorthodox bowling style and knack of bowling accurate yorkers right in the blockhole make him unplayable when he gets going. Only in the last match, fierce three-wicket haul against Afghanistan showed the world that he still is a force to reckon with. 325 wickets to his name in ODIs, he will be leading the bowling lineup from the front and will be looking to annihilate the batsmen right from the word go.
The latest pace talent to emerge from the island nation, his performance against Afghanistan caught the attention of the world as he took his team from the back foot to a winning position by taking crucial wickets just at the right moments. He ended up with four top-class wickets and will be looking forward to carrying his rich vein of form to the next game against the Green Army.
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