Criticism of fewer match-winners, lesser hopes for Sri Lanka

Despite not being among the favourites, Sri Lanka do have an outside chance of sneaking into the semifinals considering Pakistan are the fourth team in their group. Even though Pakistan are no pushovers, they have been going through a rough patch themselves in limited-overs cricket and they barely managed to qualify for the Champions Trophy. If Sri Lanka can manage to topple one among South Africa or India in their first two encounters, then they will be buoyed going into their final group fixture against Pakistan.

Asela Gunaratne – Making his debut only last year at the age of 30, Gunaratne has now become a vital cog in Sri Lanka's middle order. He has been amongst the runs in recent times, scoring his maiden ODI century in South Africa, followed by a couple of match-winning half-centuries in the T20 format in Australia. He smashed an unbeaten 70 in a warm-up tie as well against the Australians and is certainly high on confidence.

Upul Tharanga – More than a decade ago, Tharanga made a huge impact in England during the limited-overs series. And now as a senior statesman, he will be expected to marshal the top order. The hundred he struck in South Africa with seven sixes would have done his confidence a world of good. If Sri Lanka are to put up 300 plus totals in the tournament, Tharanga will have to play a massive role.

Lasith Malinga – The 33-year-old has taken 11 wickets in five matches on the international circuit since making his comeback but he is coming on the back of an indifferent IPL, where he was expensive more often than not. There were certainly doubts over his waning powers before he sent everyone a gentle reminder with a brilliant spell in the final that helped Mumbai Indians win the title. In terms of both form and fitness, Sri Lankan fans will be hoping that Malinga of the old can resurface.

Kusal Mendis- is Sri Lanka’s in-form batsman. The right-hander was the leading run-scorer in the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh in March-April, where he scored his maiden ODI century in Dambulla. At only 22, Mendis is one of the fine young batsmen in the Champions Trophy and boasts playing experience at the three venues of the tournament having toured the British Isles 12 months ago. Mendis will likely bat at first-drop, and his battle against the new ball will test his technique and mental toughness.  

Sri lanka vs South Africa -ICC Champion Trophy – Sri Lankan XI-
1.Upul Tharanga (Batsman)(Captain)Match-Winner
2. Niroshan Dickwella(Batsman)(W)Match-Winner
3. Kusal Mendis(Batsman)Match-Winner
4.Dinesh Chandimal(Batsman)
5. Chamara Kapugedara(Batsman)Match-Winner
6.Asela Gunarathne(All-Rounder)(Right Arm Off-Spinner)Match-Winner
7. Angelo Mathews(If Fit)Right Arm Fast-Medium)Match-Winner/Seekuge Prasanna(Right Arm Leg Spinner)Match-Winner/Thisara Perera(Right Arm Fast-Medium)Match-Winner
8.Lakshan Sandakan(Left-Arm Chinaman)Match-Winner
9. Suranga Lakmal(Right Arm Fast-Medium)/Nuwan Kulasekara(Medium-Fast Bowler)
10.Nuwan Pradeep(Right Arm Fast-Medium)Match-Winner
11.Lasith Malinga(Fast Bowler) Match-Winner

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