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Sri Lanka – Cricket Word Cup Team Preview

by Tom on Friday, July 12th, 2013
Sri Lankans celebrate after their 1996 Cricket Word Cup win

Sri Lankans celebrate after their 1996 Cricket Word Cup win

In the last two decades, apart from Australia, there’s probably no other team which matches Sri Lanka’s graph of consistency. And full credit goes to the islanders to reach so far from their ‘underdogs’ beginning. It took about 21 years for Sri Lanka to mark their presence in the ICC Cricket World Cup even though their neighbours India and Pakistan had already won World Cups once.

From 1975 to 1992 World Cups, they were merely travellers, losing out on all of their matches or at best, winning a couple of them. But suddenly came out of the sandstorm, the Sri Lankan cricket team, led by Arjuna Ranatunga. They took the world by surprise by winning the 1996 World Cup. And such was the confidence overflowing in the team that Sri Lanka decided to send in Australia to bat first in the finals, despite the team batting first having won all five previous World Cup finals. But it was only the beginning of a new era in the Sri Lankan cricket, and the team has been a strong force in the International cricket since then. They finished semi-finals in 2003 and back to back runners up in 2007 and 2011. You can call them little ‘unlucky’ as they came so close to pick the cup again on both these occasions. In the 2007 final at Barbados, Sri Lanka were firmly on track at 123-1 in pursuit of their target of 282, but rain interventions and bad light eventually killed the contest, bringing the game to an tragic end. And in the 2011 high profile final, they had their neighbour India on the mat, reducing them to 31-2 after giving them a tricky target of 275 at Mumbai. But they lost on that account too, making them only the second team after England (1987 & 1992) to lose two back to back World Cup finals.

Sri Lanka is a team to beat as they have a tremendous record in the One-Day format. They have won the Champions Trophy in 2002. They have also won the Asia Cup four times, besides ending up runners-up on six occasions. While Sri Lanka’s legends like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tilakaratne Dilshan are on the verge of retirements, Sri Lankan cricket have plenty to offer in the form of Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Dilhara Fernando and the great Lasith Malinga. While leadership problems continue to haunt the team, the focus should be on to build new pool of players that can take Sri Lankan cricket forward. And whichever squad Sri Lanka may play in the 2015 World Cup, they’ll definitely eye for another final spot. And hopefully they cross the finish line this time.

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