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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Sri Lanka take on Zimbabwe with confidence

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The first of the three one-day encounters between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will commence at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium tomorrow (Sunday). The day-night affair is scheduled to commence at 2.30 pm. The Sri Lanka team led by Dasun Shanaka will go into this series with a lot of confidence and their task is to improve their current ranking.

This series is more important for both sides as part of the World Cup Super League (WCSL). The World Cup Super League will take place from July 2020 to March 2023. This is for the 2023 Cricket World Cup which is a 50-over format.

Dasun Shanaka and the team has to face a major blow losing few players before the series as some players tested positive for COVID-19 and a few of them were out due to failure of a fitness test and last moment Minod Bhanuka was out. The selectors have confirmed NiroshanDickwella was drafted into the squad following an injury to Minod Bhanuka, with Ashen Bandara also being added to the squad for the three-match series. Earlier, opener Avishka Fernando, Janith Liyanage, and Kamil Mishara were out from the squad due to

Covid 19 and Lahiru Kumara and Kalana Perera pulled out of the squad with failure to pass the fitness test.

However, with this many obstacles, Skipper Dasun Shanaka is ready to take on the challenge. Shanaka said their team plans with batsman Kusal Mendis will open the batting with either Pathum Nissanka or Dinesh Chandimal. In addition, Mendis or Chandimal will keep the wickets but it’s not finalized yet.

Meanwhile, skipper Dasun Shanaka also has to come back as a middle-order batter to strengthen the side. He is expected to bat at number six while the Sri Lanka team is expected to play with two spinners and two fast bowlers for the first game. However, the key paceman Dushmantha Chameera is likely to miss the first ODI as he is just recovered from Covid this is going to be a good opportunity for Nuwan Pradeep to come back while Nuwan Thushara the uncapped paceman has a good chance to enter the side. Thushara who was in good form at the LPL is expected to get his debut but two other paceman Camika Gunasekara and Chamika Karunaratne are also in the squad. Mahesh Theekshana the mystery spinner and Jeffrey Vandasay have more chances to enter the team. If Vandasay will get the chance he has to do more responsibility as Wanindu Hasaranga is already not on this squad due to his injury.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is led by Craig Ervine with the 15-member squad, who have got good memories when they beat the hosts 3-2 back in 2017 in the ODIs played at Hambantota. Ervine comes into this tour as skipper after leading the outfit to Ireland and Scotland last year. Takudzwanashe Kaitano and wicket-keeper Clive Madande will be on their maiden tour. Craig Ervine, Tendai Chatara, Sikandar Raza, and Sean Williams will find the Sri Lankan climate familiar to them as they toured in the last outing five years back and all these are expected to come back well.

Sri Lanka Squad: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dikwella Chamika Karunaratne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrema, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Thushara, Chamika Gunasekera, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Pradeep, Shiran Fernando, and Kamindu Mendis, Ashen Bandara

Zimbabwe touring squad: Craig Ervine (C), Ryan Buri, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Luke Jongwe, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Clive Madande, Wesly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, and Sean Williams.

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