If it's World Cup, count Lanka in
Place Sri Lanka in a World Cup and they will punch above their weight. Three final appearances, though unsuccessful, in the last four World Cups – two 50-over and two T20 - confirm their love for the grand stage.cricket Updated: Sep 16, 2012 01:16 IST
Place Sri Lanka in a World Cup and they will punch above their weight. Three final appearances, though unsuccessful, in the last four World Cups – two 50-over and two T20 - confirm their love for the grand stage. And hosting one this time in their backyard, they will have that extra motivation to break the final jinx and come up trumps.
That they are playing at home makes them serious contenders for the title. There is probably no other team that uses home conditions as well as Sri Lanka. Even though the wickets aren't as low and slow as they were a few seasons back, when a certain Muttiah Muralitharan would work his magic on them, Sri Lanka could still be the team to beat in home conditions.
Apart from home advantage, the side could also gain from the recently held Sri Lankan Premier League. Apart from some fresh faces it threw up, the team will be in the T20 mode and ready for the challenge.
Besides, the experience and stability will also stand this team in good stead. With skipper Mahela Jayawardene holding the batting together, and the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and all-rounders like Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera to follow, the batting looks decent but not without a chink. In between these three and all-rounders, they look a bit short on firepower.
But as in the past, the X-factor of this Lanka side will be their freakish bowlers. While the world knows what Lasith Malinga can do with his slingers and Ajantha Mendis with his mystery balls, the Lankans have picked up another of their ilk, Akila Dhananjaya. The unknown youngster can reportedly bowl every conceivable ball in a spinner's repertoire. If he turns out as good as he's made out to be, opponents will have one more reason to worry about.