Asia Cup Preview: Sri Lanka
Asia Cup Preview: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a renowned name in the world of cricket, but in the recent past, had difficulties dealing with the retirement of key players like middle-order batsman Mahela Jayawardene, wicketkeeper-batsman Kumara Sangakkara and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

In the upcoming Asia Cup, the Islanders will go in to the tournament as one of the underdogs as their recent form suggest nothing big should be expected of them.

In the calendar year, Sri Lanka have managed to win just five matches out of 10, three of which came against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

In their last 50-over assignment, the Angelo Mathews-led unit registered a 3-2 defeat against South Africa at home. It is worth mentioning that both victories in the series came in the final two matches where the visitors were more interested in experimenting.

In the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka have an impressive record to say the least as they've registered most number of victories (34). The team have also won the tournament five times, joint-most alongside India.

Sri Lanka's poor run in the ODIs this year is more-or-less down to their dismal performance with the bat as the team's average of 29.07 is 10th-best in the world, and is worse than the likes of Ireland and Scotland.

Batting

In the batting department, the team have suffered a major blow as vice-captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal will miss the tournament due to finger injury and is being replaced by Niroshan Dickwella.

In Chandimal's absence, the team will be heavily relying on captain Mathews, veteran left-handed opener Upul Tharanga and hard-hitting Kusal Perera.

Perera is Sri Lanka's leading run-scorer in the calendar year with 309 runs in eight innings at an average of 38.62 and strike-rate of 104.74, which included three half-centuries for the team.
Mathews, who is constantly battling with injuries, had an impressive year for the Islanders with the bat as well as he has scored 277 runs in just six innings at a brilliant average of 69.25 with the help of two half-centuries. His best of 97 not out came in the match against South Africa.

Bowling

In the bowling department, the team is being heavily relying on the performance of off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, who is team's second leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps in 10 matches. His best figures of six for 29 came in the match against South Africa in Colombo.
Pacer Suranga Lakmal also looked more than decent at times, but only managed to claim 10 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 40.60.

Surprise package

Vetearn all-rounder Thisara Perera is the real surprise package for Sri Lanka in the calendar year so far, even though he look terribly out of shape.
The 29-year-old is team's second leading run-scorer with 282 runs in nine innings at an average of 40.28 and strike-rate of 133.64, whereas he is team's leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps in nine innings at an strike-rate of 21 and average of 19.38.
If Sri Lanka are to progress further in the tournament, it seems that Perera is the team's real trump card who can deliver the knockout punch whenever the team need it.

Players to watch
Thisara Perera
Akila Dananjaya
Kusal Perera

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only Cricket Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire Cricket fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Azeem Siddiqui
Azeem Siddiqui writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
Afghanistan vs. Ireland: Second T20I Preview
Afghanistan vs. Ireland: Second T20I Preview
India vs. Australia: First T20I Preview
India vs. Australia: First T20I Preview
England vs. West Indies: Second ODI Preview
England vs. West Indies: Second ODI Preview
India Women vs. England Women: First ODI Preview
India Women vs. England Women: First ODI Preview
Afghanistan vs. Ireland: First T20I Preview
Afghanistan vs. Ireland: First T20I Preview
South Africa vs. Sri Lanka: Second Test Preview
South Africa vs. Sri Lanka: Second Test Preview