By Osanda Prashan Guanaratna
Sri Lanka have done most of the things right in this world T20, the bowlers have delivered, the batsman got runs and even the fielding was also acceptable, however what Sri Lanka failed to achieve (a win ) vs England can be proved fatal for their chances of reaching the semis. Now that South Africa beating England forcing their way towards the semis with 3 wins & with only one spot vacant for either New Zealand or Sri Lanka to grab it making the 31st night T20 encounter an epic Quarter Final with everything to lose to either side.
As Sri Lankan skipper Chandimal said after the loss vs England, SL will need to pick themselves up from the thrashing they had and even make forceable changes to the XI with Chandimal suspended from playing vs NZ and Sri Lanka’s new captain "Lasith Malinga" needs encourage his troops to win this match at any cost.
As team composition goes Sri Lanka will be forced into bringing in Lahiru Thirimanne (acting Vice Captain) for Captain Chandimal and also bringing in the experienced and dependable Rangana Herath instead of Ajantha Mendis who was smashed around the park by both England and South Africa.
Batting – In terms of batting Sri Lanka may again get the back in form Mahela Jayawardene fit after he was cleared of serious injury after split webbing during the England match, with Dilshan and Kusal Perera to open it is really up to these top 3 to lay a platform for Sangakkara, Mathews & Co to follow up and reach a challenging total the New Zealanders would feel challenged.
Bowling – Angelo Mathews or Thisara and Kulasekera or even Sachitra or Dilshan depending on the situation should open the bowling vs New Zealand and ideally Malinga and Herath to follow, it is important that Malinga keep himself back in the final 10 with 3 overs of himself and 1 over during the 1st 10 overs.Bowling in the dew again will be a concern, Sri Lanka will need to find a solution for that and soon.
Fielding – Dewy outfield will challenge fielders even more and all players will need to go up against New Zealand to raise the fielding standards and take all catches that may come their way.
To conclude Sri Lanka are walking on thin ice here, failure again will result the top ranked T20 team an embarrassing goodbye to a fantastic World T20 and success will bring in confidence & hope to do well in the semis. May the better team win.