Former World Champions, Sri Lanka will kick off their 2019 World Cup campaign against the runners-up of the previous World Cup, New Zealand at Cardiff. The Lankan Lions had a disastrous outing in their warm-up games as they lost both of their warm-up encounters. Dimuth Karunaratne's men could not give South Africa and Australia a run for their money in the warm-up games.
However, they should look to commence their World Cup 2019 campaign with a positive outlook as anything can happen at the mega-event. Looking at the players' recent form, here's how Sri Lanka could line-up for the match against New Zealand -
Lahiru Thirimanne and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne will the role of openers for Sri Lanka. Thirimanne had scored a half-ton in the warm-up match against Australia and he should perform well against Kane Williamson's side as well.
Wicket-keeper batsman, Kusal Perera will bat at no.3 while the trio of Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and Jeevan Mendis will form the team's core.
Dhananjaya de Silva played a good knock against Australia and he should play the opening counter against New Zealand. Thisara Perera will the role of a finisher at no. 8 along with bowling some crucial overs in the middle.
Leg-break bowler Jeffrey Vandersay can prove to be the X-factor for Sri Lanka while the fast bowlers Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep will try to make the most out of the English conditions.
Key Players for Sri Lanka
Batsmen - Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Perera
Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Perera will hold the key for Sri Lanka in the batting department. They need to build a good platform for the experienced all-rounders to come and take the team to a respectable position.
Bowlers - Jeffrey Vandersay and Lasith Malinga
Jeffrey Vandersay will have the responsibility of picking up wickets in the middle overs whereas the team's most experienced bowler, Lasith Malinga will have to keep a check on the run-flow in the powerplay as well as slog overs.
Predicted Playing XI
Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan PradeepPublished 01 Jun 2019, 08:30 IST