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Cricket World Cup 2023: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka caused one of the biggest upsets in cricket history by winning the 1996 World Cup, having failed to make it past the group stage of the previous five tournaments.

They went on to reach the finals in 2007 and 2011, losing to powerful Australia and India sides, and claimed a shock league-stage win over England, who went on to lift the trophy, at Headingley in 2019.

Sri Lanka's lowly ODI ranking meant they did not qualify automatically for the 2023 World Cup but they dominated July's ICC Qualifier event in Zimbabwe, winning all eight of their matches, and are 25/1 to triumph in India.

Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup squad

Dasun Shanaka (c), Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka.

Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup coach

Chris Silverwood had a long career as a fast bowler for Yorkshire and Middlesex, playing six Tests and seven ODIs for England between 1996 and 2002.

He led Essex to the 2017 County Championship in his first coaching role and took charge of the England team from October 2019 to February 2022, although his reign ended in a disappointing 4-0 Ashes series defeat in Australia.

A couple of months after leaving the England job, Silverwood was appointed Sri Lanka coach and his new side won the T20 Asia Cup in September 2022.

Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup record

1975 Group stage 
1979 Group stage 
1983 Group stage 
1987 Group stage 
1992 Group stage 
1996 Winners 
1999 Group stage 
2003 Semi-finals 
2007 Runners-up 
2011 Runners-up 
2015 Quarter-finals 
2019 Group stage

Possible XI

1. Pathum Nissanka 
2. Kusal Perera 
3. Kusal Mendis 
4. Sadeera Samarawickrama 
5. Charith Asalanka 
6. Dhananjaya de Silva 
7. Dasun Shanaka 
8. Maheesh Theekshana 
9. Dunith Wellalage 
10. Kasun Rajitha 
11. Matheesha Pathirana

Strengths

Experienced all-rounders Dhananjaya de Silva and Dasun Shanaka balance the team nicely and fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana and Dunith Wellalage, yet another all-rounder, are thrilling young talents.

Sri Lanka's participation in the ICC CWC Qualifier means they have played more 50-over cricket than most of their rivals in 2023. 

They boosted their confidence with a 13-match winning run between June and September, albeit against weaker opponents than they will face at the World Cup, and their spinners should pose a threat on Indian pitches.

Weaknesses

Sri Lanka have struggled to replace middle-order maestros Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who both played at the 2015 World Cup, and their batting can be overpowered by opponents on flat pitches.

In 15 ODIs against India, England and Australia since the 2019 World Cup, their highest total is a modest 306 and they were bowled out for less than 200 five times.

Injuries have disrupted coach Silverwood's preparations as key man Hasaranga (thigh) and senior fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera (shoulder) were not fit enough to feature in September's Asia Cup.

Key Players

Dhananjaya de Silva

The brittle nature of Sri Lanka's top-order batting heaps pressure on middle-order man Dhananjaya de Silva, who is often called upon to dig his side out of trouble.

He rose to the challenge when making his two highest scores in ODIs: 91 against England at The Oval in 2021, when the Lankans had slipped to 21-4, and 93 against the Netherlands in June after they were 34-4.

A classy strokemaker and useful off-spinner, Dhananjaya and captain Dasun Shanaka form the engine room of the side.

Pathum Nissanka

Sri Lankan openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan lit up World Cups with their dashing strokeplay and Pathum Nissanka is hoping to follow in their footsteps.

The 25-year-old has made a solid start to his international career, averaging just under 40 in Test and ODI cricket and scoring nine fifties in 41 T20 innings for his country.

He has shown his ability against the top teams, scoring 137 against Australia in June 2022 and 72 against India at the start of this year. 

In July Nissanka slammed back-to-back centuries against Zimbabwe and the Windies at the ICC CWC Qualifier and he will need to score heavily if Sri Lanka are to post competitive totals in India.

Odds

To Win Outright - 25/1

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