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June 3, 2024
Sri Lanka’s firepower quest to get the better of fancied South Africa

Sri Lanka Cricket


By Srian Obeyesekere

The sky is the limit as former 2014 world champions Sri Lanka led by the imaginative attacking captain, Wanindu Hasaranga as his largely youthful side blended in the sole experience of long timer Angelo Mathews will necessarily need to exhibit that ultimate defining firepower in cricket’s most spellbindingly compelling short format 2024 ICC T20 World Cup flyer in a tilt for a second trophy glitter take off come June 3 Monday against a high riding South Africa at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in the bustling city of New York.

The Lankans initial hurdle drawn in Group D, will be to bucking a comparative head-to-head 11-5 T20 deficit where the Proteas have not lost a single T20I against the Islanders since March 2019, and a 3-0 series defeat early this year to boot.

However, the Lankans yet carry the buoyancy of having won the world cup while South Africa wrestles to shed aside a long running hoodoo of winning an elusive world cup. Therein, the pressure will be on the Proteas to make their first appearance in a final of the Men’s T20 World Cup. The Lankans do boast of occupying the top spot as consistent performers with a 60.78%-win record from 31 wins in their 51 matches, with 19 losses and 1 tie with the 2014 trophy and as 2-time runners-up. Pakistan is second with 28 wins and 17 losses from 47 matches and 60.63 %-win ratio, India third with 28 from 44, 15 losses, 63.95%, fourth Australia 25 from 40, 15 losses, 62.50% followed by England, the reigning world campions 24 from 44, 19 lost, 55.81%.

Going by the two warm-up run ups, humbled by the Netherlands by 20 runs to getting into the winning act by 41 against Ireland, the Lankans face the task of their exposed frontline batting in both games getting down to the demanding run making business if they are to get the better of a well-oiled South African outfit.

Wanindu Hasaranga, in his first major assignment carrying the Lankan mantle, leads a balanced Lions side. The frontline revolves among Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, with young find Kamindu Mendis virtually bulldozing his way into reckoning on recent form vying for a place, and Dhananjaya De Silva for his all-round potential. Veterans Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka pack experience as seam-bowling all-rounders with captain Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana the main spin exponents while young Dunith Wellalage is the spin-bowling all-round option.

Dilshan Madushanka packs the lethal with the new ball in the Powerplay will be lethal with Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana and Nuwan Thushara forming the pace attack.


South Africa is roundly seen by the experts as the strongest side in Group D followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, though history indicates that each team carries the potential to beat the other. The batting runs strong in the experienced Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and Reeza Hendricks who can bludgeon bowling attacks with Ryan Rickelton and Tristan Stubbs promising to bring the spark of youth.

The fast-bowling department is as strong – Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen and Ottniel Baartman. Meanwhile, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin complete the spin department.

The ninth T20 showpiece that has been given an exciting new look in history wending its way enveloping night cricket at its best under the novelty of American skies since the fast fad unfolded in 2007, sees the West Indies and reigning champions England ahead having won the world cup twice each. Twenty teams drawn in four groups will be in the fray.


Wanindu Hasaranga (c), Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya De Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka. Traveling Reserves: Asitha Fernando, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and Janith Liyanage.


Aiden Markram (c), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs.

Group D Fixtures:

3 June: Sri Lanka vs South Africa, New York
8 June: Netherlands vs South Africa, New York
10 June: South Africa vs Bangladesh, New York
14 June: South Africa vs Nepal, St. Vincent

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