Sri Lanka may not be enjoying their best ranking in T20 Internationals languishing in tenth position and not being the force they were once in world cricket.
But that has not prevented some of the players from making the cut in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) where as many as six have been signed up by the different franchises.
This is a far cry from the past five years when only one Sri Lankan cricketer or the most two caught the attention of the IPL franchises.
Sri Lanka’s performances at the last T20 World Cup in the UAE saw many new faces making their mark like Wanindu Hasaranga, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana and Dushmantha Chameera (a comeback after injury).
On top of the pile is Sri Lanka’s leg-spin all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga who is Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) leading wicket-taker with 13 wickets at an economy rate of 8.16. Hasaranga, retained by RCB having made his IPL debut in 2021 has the third best bowling effort in the ongoing tournament with figures of 4/20 against Kolkata Knight Riders. RCB are currently placed fifth in the table.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa who has had fitness issues getting selected to the national team, but none so for Punjab Kings in the IPL, figures among the top ten batsmen with the highest strike rate in the ongoing tournament. The left-hander’s strike rate of 183.82 places him in eighth position. Although yet to make a maiden fifty in the IPL Rajapaksa has continued to be consistent with his scores of 43, 31, 9 and 42 that sees Punjab Kings lying in sixth place.
A revelation for Sri Lanka in T20I cricket has been the bowling of Maheesh Theekshana who carries an aura of mystery with him because of the number of assorted deliveries he carries up his sleeve to deceive batsmen. Theekshana is defending champions Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) leading spinner with eight wickets at an impressive economy rate of 7.75 although fast bowling all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is their leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets, with an economy rate of 8.73. Theekshana’s best bowling performance is 4/33 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
CSK are not enjoying the best of season’s being placed second from the bottom of the table and in danger of not qualifying for the play-offs. CSK also recruited a second Sri Lankan bowler into their squad, teenager Matheesha Pathirana who bowls with an action even slingier than Sri Lanka’s and Mumbai Indians legendary fast bowler Lasith Malinga. Pathirana replaced New Zealand quick Adam Milne who picked up a hamstring injury during one of the matches and was ruled out of the tournament.
One of the most improved fast bowlers in T20I cricket has been Sri Lankan spearhead Dushmantha Chameera who is also in his second successive season of IPL. Chameera who was picked by Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, is representing newcomers to the IPL Lucknow Super Giants who are currently placed fourth in the table. Chameera has still not been able to produce his best performance so far claiming five wickets from six matches at an economy rate of 8.45 with 2/22 as his best effort…