Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga the stars as Sri Lanka whitewash Pakistan

Sri Lanka’s crazy 2019 got even weirder on Wednesday, when they made five changes to the team that had won the first two T20Is against Pakistan, but still managed to pull off a whitewash – debutant Oshada Fernando producing the defining innings, before legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga took three wickets in his second successive match.

Oshada hit 78 not out off 48 balls, overseeing Sri Lanka’s recovery from 30 for 3 after five overs, then 58 for 4 after eight. Very much the talisman in the innings – no other batsman made even 15 – he guided Sri Lanka to 147 for 7 on a slow Lahore surface…

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  1. It’s one of the greatest victories our young T20 team has achieved. As Asantha has quoted today problem earlier was the lack of quality players to improve the standard of our cricket but now we have excess number of good players. In my opinion it will definitely be a real headache for the selectors to pick the best team for the Australian tour this month.

    Some of the regulars who didn’t tour Pakistan will have a tough time to be selected for the team although they may be in the squad but as bench players due to their recent ordinary batting performances. Kusal Janith (top order) and Dhananjaya (middle order) will have to sit out as Bhanuka Rajapaksha and Shehan Jayasuriya may take their places.

    I would pick the following squad of 16 players according to the recent T 20 performances in SL (NZ tour) and the current tour in Pakistan.

    1 Danushka
    2 Kusal Mendis
    3 Bhanuka Rajapaksha
    4 Shehan Jayasuriya
    5 Dasun Shanaka
    6 Dickwella
    7 Vanidu de Silva
    8 Udana
    9 Lahiru Kumara
    10 Nuwan Pradeep
    11 Malinga

    12 Oshada Fernando
    13 Kusal Janith
    14 Kasun Rajitha
    15 Avishka Fernando
    16 Dhananjaya de Silva

  2. Why would you drop kusal Perera. Who is a better, more consistent and arguably more explosive batsman than K mendis and can keep better than him. Also if you notice the trend k Perera has been batting with more responsibility than mendis in recent matches. In addition to this k Perera has more shots to spinners which has been one his weaknesses of late unlike kusal mendis who’s shots tend to be either a flat bat pull or a slog sweep. Besides this mendis tends to score more boundaries and then eats up deliveries putting pressure on the batsman at the other end. Also he only performed against a second string new Zealand line up. The best option would be to drop dickwella and then include kusal mendis, or for a more aggressive option avishka fernando. Who despite his recent low scores has shown more white ball promise than kusal mendis.

  3. For me, Kusal Mendis isn’t a t20 player. I see it as a issue with his mindset than his skill. For example, even when he gets a good start, he tends to settle down and defend balls that other batmen would have scored of. So he doesn’t maximise from the scoring opportunities he gets from the number of balls he faces (which I think was the main reason for us losing the 1st 2 NZ games, even though we batted well, we were about 15 runs short, and Mendis wasn’t the only one to do this). What stood out from Bhanuka’s and Oshada’s recent innings was they kept scoring boundaries and rotating strike throughout their innings. And they didnt slow down their innings to get from 46 to 50 with only singles, which I’ve seen Mendis do before. You cannot afford to do that in a t20 game. I’ve nothing against Mendis and I think he is our best batsman. But he needs to change his mindset if wants to play t20. Or we are always going to end up 10-15 runs short.

    I dont think we should be making lineup predictions for the world cup just yet. But I would like to see this XI being tried for the 1st t20 in Australia.

    1) Danushka Gunathilaka
    2) Avishka Fernando
    3) Kusal Perera
    4) Bhanuka Rajapaksha
    5) Oshada Fernando
    6) Dasun Shanaka
    7) Isuru Udana
    8) Wanindu Hasaranga
    9) Kasun Rajitha/Lahiru Kumara/Lakshan Sandakan
    10) Nuwan Pradeep
    11) Lasith Malinga

    12) and 13) Kasun Rajitha/Lahiru Kumara/Lakshan Sandakan
    14) Shehan Jayasuriya
    15) Kusal Mendis
    16) Angelo Mathews

  4. LEVINDU PERERA, When you analyze a T20 inning, complete different scenario to ODI has to be used. What you have said in the comparison between the two Kusals are relevant mainly for ODI matches but slightly in T 20 matches. In T20 it’s all about power hitting. The more sixes & fours the batsmen score the game is won. In the 3 T 20 matches with Pakistan same thing happened.

    Pakistan lost all 3 matches as their batsmen could not produce big totals with the help, of sixes. If you look at the total scores & number of sixes scored it’s explained very clearly. SL scored 15 sixes in their 3 match total of 394 runs. That gives a sixes rate of 18%. in comparison Pk scored only 5 sixes in a total of 382 runs and their sixes rate was therefore only 7%. Due to loosing early wkts their batsmen were on the back foot, we also bowled pretty well and scoring of sixes were very difficult. When sixes were not coming the RRR increased dramatically, and within a very few overs the asking run rate climbed upto an unmanageable value like 12 to 15 RPO towards the end of the inning.

    If you have 2 to 3 specialist batsmen as power hitters who can score sixes at a rate of 25% to 35% then its a very good plus factor. Both Bhanuka and Dasun are TRUE POWER HITTERS. Only other power hitter we had was Thisara Perera who had a sixes rate of around 25% but he is currently out of form as a batsman.

    Kusal Perera during 2017 / 2018 had a higher sixes rate of 27% but during the last 12 months it came down to only 13%. During the same period Kusal P’s sixes rate, SR and Av were all well below than Kusal M’s. So according to the current form for T20, Kusal M has more chances to open. During the last series with NZ Kusal M fared better than Kusal P as a Power Hitting opening batsman.

    Most importantly if Kusal M opens it will also give more value to the composition as he is a right hander and we will get a better Right & Left hand combination among the two openers.

    The following statistics are taken from the Cricinfo Statguru records for T 20 I for the last 12 month period.

    Kusal M 6M-127R-Av 21.2-SR 118%-(R6) 19%, (R4) 35%
    Avishka 8M- 111R Av 13.9-SR 94% -(R6) 16% (R4) 29%
    Kusal P 4M- 48R Av 12.0-SR 109%-(R6) 13% (R4)42%

    What ever description given as above by two authors what matters is how the batsmen have performed consistently and above performance records will rate the 3 openers as 1.Kusal M, 2. Avishka & 3. Kusal P

  5. SUSANTHA JAYAWARDENA,
    Ah yes kusal mendis has played well in the the last 3 matches he has played in ( especially achieving his highest score of 79). Unfortunately he scored this highest score by wasting deliveries and not being rotate strike efficiently which ended up costing Sri Lanka the match as pubudu has suggested above. Frankly any oloamotayek can biff a six or four even though it has been lacking from the Sri Lankan team of late until now. Kusal mendis scored these runs against a weakened new Zealand bowling line up. If you look at the recent T20I over the last 12 months and kusal mendis’s record you can see that he has scored at a healthy average of 25.40 and at a strike rate 124.50. However these runs have all come in losing matches, there is no point of choosing players who are unable to win matches when they are being selected to do so especially when there is a new crop of players capable of playing the roles he plays and currently doing it better. Unfortunately kusal mendis is the pound land ( equivalent to the 100 rupee store) version of the fab four. Sixes build the score but strike rotation at all levels of cricket wins matches.

  6. LEVIDU
    I do not want to continue with this discussion anymore as we should not argue on issues which are only relevant to coaches which of course is their duty to correct all the mistakes that you have pointed out. Also we should not have any personal agenda in our mind where we only praise the good work & ignore all mistakes of your favorite player & only blame the mistakes & forget every good work of a player you dont like. As genuine cricket fans our duty should be to check the out come, how the player has performed, and the consistency in his overall performance.

  7. After I saw the very latest news that young Batting All rounder (off spinning) Ramesh Mendis has a good chance to be included for the T 20 team I have decided to replace Dhanajaya DS by Ramesh from “My Team ” that I proposed for the Australian Team.

    So it will now read as follows;

    1 Danushka
    2 Kusal Mendis
    3 Bhanuka Rajapaksha
    4 Shehan Jayasuriya
    5 Dasun Shanaka
    6 Dickwella (or Minod Bhanuka) wk
    7 Vanidu de Silva
    8 Isuru Udana
    9 Lahiru Kumara
    10 Nuwan Pradeep
    11 Malinga

    12 Oshada Fernando
    13 Kusal Janith
    14 Kasun Rajitha
    15 Avishka Fernando
    16 Ramesh Mendis

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