Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka is full of optimism ahead of the Men’s T20 World Cup which starts on Sunday.
The T20 World Cup will begin with the Round 1 Group B encounter between hosts Oman and Papua New Guinea, with Scotland and Bangladesh, the other teams in Group B, clashing in the evening match. Drawing parallels to the vintage side that won the 2014 tournament, Sri Lanka skipper feels that his current side has similar depth and variety, something he believes could see them potentially go a “long way in this tournament” – even if they lack considerably in terms of experience.
“If you recall, that squad had a lot of variety and depth. And with the youngsters we have coming through now, I feel have the same potential. The only thing lacking is the experience,” Shanaka said, speaking on a captains’ Zoom call organised by International Cricket Council (ICC).
If our guys perform to their strengths, I feel they can go a long way in this tournament. Our fans in Sri Lanka have been waiting a long time for us to be successful, and I hope we can make them proud,” he added.
Shanaka also lauded the batting order of the team and stated that the strength in the Sri Lanka squad is very good.
“We were not able to perform up to the mark in the last few years, but still the strength of our squad is very good. We’ve got two guys coming from the IPL [Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga], Kusal Janith [Perera] at the top of the order and Avishka Fernando, who is going well, coming in at No. 4.”
Sri Lanka is placed with Ireland, Netherlands, and Namibia in Group A. The Round 1 matches will run till October 22. The top two teams in each group will proceed to the Super 12 stage of the tournament, beginning on October 23.
“We are settled with our batting line-up. We’ve recently changed our line-up a bit – I think we’ve struck a good balance,” Shanaka said.
“If our guys perform to their strengths I feel they can go a long way in this tournament. Our fans in Sri Lanka have been waiting a long time for us to be successful, and I hope we can make them proud,” he added.
The first semi-final of the T20 World Cup will be held in Abu Dhabi on November 10. The second semi-final will be hosted by Dubai on November 11. Both semi-finals have reserve days. The marquee clash of the tournament will take place in Dubai on November 14, Sunday, with Monday acting as the reserve day for the final.