World T20 2023 Preview: Sri Lanka

Same Approach, Different Result?

Can Sri Lanka’s talismanic captain, Chamari Athapaththu, and her army of quality slow bowlers make the finals of a World Cup for the first time? With pretty much the same team and the same approach as for the 2020 campaign, can Sri Lanka achieve a different result?

It does tend to follow a similar patter for this team: if Chamari has a good day out, so does the team, but with just 11 victories from 34 games in the last four years, it does suggest that the skipper is going to need a run of six excellent days out for Sri Lanka to have a chance of finishing better than they did in 2020.



Sri Lanka re in Pool A along with Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Australia. In order to progress to the semi finals Sri Lanka will need to win against three of those teams. The difficulty that is that they have never beaten two of those teams, Australia and New Zealand, in this format.

The have defeated South Africa three times and have a healthy record against Bangladesh. Fortunately, these are the first two teams for Sri Lanka. If they can win those two matches and spring a surprise on Australia or New Zealand, they’re in the semis.

Key Players

Fresh from skippering the team in the U19 World Cup, Vishmi Gunarathne, is a top order batter with loads of potential. She was the team’s leading run scorer in that tournament and will be keen to rejoin her senior team mates, unleashed from the burden of captaincy. It is important for Sri Lanka that this player has a good campaign, for batting has never been the team’s strong point, too often relying on the captain.

The team will also be looking for runs from Harshitha Madavi, a good quality batter who needs to show more consistency. She certainly has the skills. Also with the bat, a key player will be wicket keeper Anushka Sanjeewani who has shown that she is a fighter and won’t give her wicket away easily.

Anushka‘s wicket keeping is competent. She’ll get plenty of opportunities keeping to the army of spin bowlers Sri Lanka has. The fielding can be a bit ragged at times but some of the catching has been spectacular. Don’t be surprised to see Nilakshi de Silva in a highlight package of catches at the end of this tournament.

Pace bowling options are steady at best, downright erratic at worst. It won’t surprise if Sri Lanka play only one of these options – Ama Kanchana, Achini Kulasuriya or newcomer Sathya Sandeepani – and run with their spin bowlers for the remaining spots. Achini is likely to be the first one of the quicks to get an opportunity.

The real strength of the team, as one might expect from this region, is in the slow bowling department. By that, spinners and slow medium. Proven wicket takers for the team in this field are Oshadi Ranasinghe, Sugandika Kumari and Inoka Ranaweera.

The Challenge

As mentioned at the beginning. This is the same team as 2020, give or take a player or two. It’s also an aging team. Many of these players will not be at the next World Cup, this being their last hurrah, so perhaps there is just a little more to play for this time.

Can the same team, the same approach bring a better result?

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

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