Sri Lanka have arrived at the ICC World Cup 2019 with no expectations and with no pressure on their heads to go all the way at the global showpiece. That being said, Dimuth Karunaratane & Co. will be eager to prove their doubters wrong as they take on 2015 WC runners-up New Zealand on Saturday.
Dimuth Karunaratne(C): Karunaratne, a product of the famous St. Joseph’s College in Colombo, will be Sri Lanka’s biggest weapon in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019. Karunaratane has an average from 20.54 at a strike rate of 73.15 in the ODIs and is making a comeback to the side after four years. But big things will be expected of the Lankan skipper in the coming weeks.
Lahiru Thirimanne: Thirimanne scored a brilliant 56 off 69 balls in the final warm-up game against Australia as the Lankans scored 239/8. The Sri Lankan opener will be expected to anchor the innings along with Karunaratane at the top. Thirimanne has an SR of 71.5 with an average of 35.24.
Avishka Fernando: 21-year old Avishka Fernando will be in the spotlight in the coming weeks as one the budding youngsters in the Lankan squad. Fernando has scored 145 runs from six ODIs for Sri Lanka and will be expected to shine with the Lankan lions.
Kusal Mendis(WK): Mendis has a decent strike-rate of 85.76 and has scored a total of 1692 runs from 63 matches with Sri Lanka. The wicket-keeper will be expected to stick around in the middle overs and step up the tempo of the batting order towards the end of the innings.
Angelo Mathews: Mathews, a former captain of the Lankan team, is one of the more senior players in the squad. His big-hitting abilities make him a threat in the shorter format of the game and with a strike-rate of 83.3, he will pose a threat to opposition bowlers. Mathews will also offer Karunaratane a decent option as a bowler in the middle overs.
Isuru Udana: At 31, Udana is a late-bloomer in the Sri Lankan squad but has garnered a reputation as one of the most dangerous finishers in the modern game over the last year. His impressive SR of 122.55 will obviously keep the opposition bowlers on check, especially in the death overs.
Jeffrey Vandersay: Colombo-born Jeffrey Vandersay had earlier enjoyed a fantastic T20 World Cup campaign in 2016 after he was flown in as a replacement for Lasith Malinga. He has emerged as Sri Lanka’s premier spinner in the limited-overs format after Rangana Herath’s retirement. Vandersay has 10 wickets in 11 ODIs bowling at a healthy economy of 5.75.
Lasith Malinga: A man who certainly needs no introduction, Malinga will undoubtedly be Sri Lanka’s key player with the ball in the coming months as the Islanders try and put up a challenge against some of the biggest teams in the world. Fresh off an IPL win with Mumbai Indians, Malinga will hope to repeat the performance with the national team at the World Cup.
Suranga Lakmal: Lakmal, 32, is again one of the more senior players in what is an ageing Lankan squad who will be expected to perform with the ball in England. A decent tally of 107 wickets from 82 matches goes to show that the veteran medium-pacer has a knack of delivering when required.
Nuwan Pradeep: Another late-bloomer with the Lankan team, Pradeep has been a familiar figure with the national team having notched up 42 wickets from 35 One-dayers. An impressive economy of 6.1 will boost Sri Lanka’s chances of keeping the total as low as possible against World-class opponents.