March 2 when they defeated South Africa. Sri Lanka appeared in all World
Cup games, in 1975 on invitation, 1979 as the ICC champion and after that
as a test playing nation. In last four World Cups, Sri Lanka played 18
games and won in two. A game against West Indies was declared abandoned,
incidently that WAS the only abandoned game in the World Cup history. In
this WC Sri Lanka played four games and they have already won two of them.
They lost to New Zealand and the game against India was declared abandoned.
Sri Lankans are well known for their ability when they bat second.
This time also they maintain that name, won both the games when they were
given a target. They reached the target of 313 against Zimbabwe, a record
for a chasing team. Lankans improved their chasing record which they esta-
blished in 1983 (Pak 338/5 - Sri Lanka 288/9). Previous record was 276/4
by Sri Lanka against Australia (328/5) in WC 1975.
Sri Lanka is playing as an underdog in this WC. The team feels
no pressure and plays a positive game. Opener Roshan Mahanama scored half
centuries in all of his three appearances. Middle order left arm batsman
former captain Arjuna Ranatunga played two masterly innings to make sure
the Lankan victory. He has two undefeted half centuries against his name.
Sri Lankan batting order has been blessed with a mixture of left (Asanka
Gurusinghe, Sanath Jayasuriya, Ruwan Kalpage) and right (Aravinda de Silva
Hashan Tillekaratne, Athula Samarasekara) combination. Sanath and Hashan
shone well against Waqar, Aquip, Akram, Imran of Pakistan. A major contri-
bution is awited in this WC from them. Sri Lanka is THE worst victim in
this WC. In addition to their hectic schedule, injury problems trouble
Lankans. Their strike bowler Rumesh Ratnayake, who got 7 Pak batsmen for
41 runs (record is 7/40 A Javed of Pak v Ind) in a warm up game in Austra-
lia just before the WC is out of action and opening batsman Athula Samara-
sekara (a part-time bowler too) is out after New Zealand match. He scored
75 runs against Zimbabwe. Lankan bowling is arguably the weakest among
other WC participants: they applied 8 bowlers in their game against New
Zealand. However lion hearted Lankans are still up and fighting.
Out of eight games, Lankans have completed four with 2-1-1 record.
They have to face semi-final favourites, Australia, England, West Indies
and Pakistan next. In 1983 World Cup Zimbabwe was the king maker, beaten
Australia to throw them out of semi-finals. That role would be played by
Lankans this time. In a way, with a good performance and some luck, there
exists a chance for Lanka to enter the semi-final round for the first time.
Well, only a few more days to go........
v Australia Mar 07 Adelaide
v England Mar 09 Ballarat (Aus)
v West Indies Mar 13 Berri (Aus)
v Pakistan Mar 15 Perth
Umass, Mar 02