R Premadasa Stadium a roadblock in Sri Lanka’s T20 journey
The 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series matches will be held at the R Premadasa stadium, a venue that has provided heartbreak for hosts Sri Lanka in the shortest format of the game.cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2018 17:52 IST
The 2018 Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 tri-series, featuring India, Bangladesh and hosts Sri Lanka will have all their matches played at the R Premadasa stadium. With home advantage, the Sri Lankan team will fancy themselves to put up a great show in the tournament that begins from March 6 and ends on March 18.
However, they face two uphill tasks. First is an India cricket team that is on top of its game and has not been defeated in a Twenty20 International series since 2015. Second --- and a peculiar factor --- is the jinx of the Premadasa. For Sri Lanka, this venue has provided them with more heartbreak in the format than any other venue, having lost 12 out of 14 games played.
Sri Lanka have endured plenty of heartbreaks in Twenty20 Internationals at the R Premadasa. In the very-first Twenty20 International at the venue in 2009, they failed to defend 172 as Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan stitched a 59-run stand off 25 balls to help India win by three wickets. In the same year, they were whitewashed 2-0 for the first time in a series by New Zealand.
The hosts finally broke their four-match streak in the 2012 World T20 semi-final with a 16-run victory over Pakistan. However, in the final, they were blown away by Marlon Samuels’ 56-ball 78 as West Indies won by 36 runs to earn their maiden World T20 title. Following the final defeat, Sri Lanka went on to lose five consecutive games at the venue against South Africa, Pakistan (twice), West Indies and Australia.
After beating Bangladesh to snap the losing streak, they suffered their first-ever loss to the same side. And then in 2017, India hammered Sri Lanka by seven wickets in a one-off Twenty20 International to inflict an embarrassing clean sweep of the tour after winning the Tests and ODIs 3-0 and 5-0 respectively. When it comes to home love, the R Premadasa is definitely not providing Sri Lanka with any advantage so far.
First Published: Mar 03, 2018 17:52 IST