After an impressive qualifying run, Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup Super 12 campaign begins on Sunday, with skipper Dasun Shanaka insisting that “every team has to look at us.”
Despite a build-up marred by controversy and poor form, the 2014 champions are now being mentioned as potential title winners.
Their well-balanced team, which included two express fast bowlers, a mystery spinner, and a mix of reliable run-getters, breezed through the first round.
“It’s a straightforward message. “The boys have done well, and they have demonstrated their skills, and they have demonstrated what they truly can do in this tournament,” Shanaka said on Saturday.
“They’ve already made their mark in this tournament, so every team has to take a close look at them, which is great for us.”
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His confidence is bolstered by his performances.
They rejected Namibia for 96 points, Ireland for 101 points, and the Netherlands for 44 points.
Despite the Gulf’s sluggish wickets, Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara have rattled batsmen with raw pace.
Mahesh Theekshana, a 21-year-old off-break bowler who has only made his international debut, has already perplexed batsmen.
He enters the second round with seven wickets under his belt.
This included a series of victories over England and South Africa.
Meanwhile, Wanindu Hasaranga and Pathum Nissanka both hit half-centuries against Ireland to help their team recover from an 8-3 deficit.
It’s a far cry from the team’s preparations for the event.
Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and Niroshan Dickwella were all banned for a year after breaching the team’s coronavirus bubble in England in July.
They arrived in the Gulf in 2021 ranked 10th in the world, with three wins and nine defeats in 12 T20 matches.
‘Takes the dew’
Shanaka praised former captain and now team mentor Mahela Jayawardene’s influence in the locker room.
According to some media reports, Jayawardene was set to leave the team ahead of the Super 12s to visit his family in Sri Lanka.
Jayawardene stated that despite spending “135 days in quarantine and bubbles since June,” he would continue to serve on the squad from afar.
“It’s a great investment for the boys, especially the younger ones.” “He gave them a lot of experience and advice,” Shanaka explained.
“It also makes it easier for me as a captain, so it’s been really good so far.”
On Sunday, Sri Lanka will face Bangladesh, who had to qualify for the Super 12 as well.
They were defeated by Scotland by six runs before going on to beat Oman and Papua New Guinea.
Shakib Al Hasan was crucial for Bangladesh, scoring 20 runs and taking 2-17 against Scotland, 42 runs and taking 3-28 against co-hosts Oman, and 46 runs and taking 4-9 against PNG.
Bangladesh’s coach, Russell Domingo, was relieved to see his team play their second-round matches in the afternoon rather than the oppressive humidity of the evening.
“I think the scheduling, the way it’s worked, the 2:00 pm start works really well for us,” he said.
“It removes the dew from the equation.” I know a lot of other teams are preoccupied with the dew.”Playing all of our games at 2:00 is not an option for us.” “I believe our spinners will play a significant role in the competition.”
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