Sri Lanka

Sangakkara: Will lead from the front

Sangakkara: Will lead from the front

Sri Lanka squad:
Kumar Sangakkara (captain)
Muttiah Muralitharan
Mahela Jayawardene
Sanath Jayasuriya
Tillakaratne Dilshan
Angelo Mathews
Thissera Perera
Suraj Randiv
Dinesh Chandimal
Nuwan Kulasekera
Lasith Malinga
Chinthaka Jayasinghe
Chamara Kapugedera
Ajantha Mendis
Chanaka Welegedera

Overview

Sri Lanka have won just one of their last five Twenty20 internationals since the ICC World Twenty20 last June, but such form is irrelevant when it comes to a competition on the international stage.

Last year's finalists have traditionally thrived in major ICC tournaments and this year Twenty20 showpiece will be no different, with Sri Lanka once again appearing to have all the right ingredients to play a major part in the Caribbean.

The innovation of their batting ranks and the variation and deception of the Sri Lankan bowlers are perfectly suited to the twenty-over format. Add-in a good deal of experience and a harmonious team atmosphere, and you've got yourself a well balanced outfit.

The bookmakers have prudently installed Kumar Sangakkara's team as joint-third favourites along with India, and while it would take a brave wager to back the Sri Lankans for the title, they will undoubtedly have a say in who ends up victorious in the West Indies.

Strengths

Mendis: Mystery option

The dependability of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will provide huge stability for the Sri Lankan batting line-up.

Both are seasoned campaigners and have shown that they are in top nick with consistent performances for the Kings XI Punjab in this year's Indian Premier League.

Variation is the greatest weapon of any bowler in the shortest version of the game and skipper Sangakkara certainly has plenty of options.

With the weird and wonderful array of bowlers including Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan attack will give opposing batsmen a very serious challenge.

Weaknesses

Dilshan: Struggling for form

Sri Lanka have a solid top order with the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, as well as Jayawardene and Sangakkara.

However Jayasuriya has his mind on politics these days, and the globe-trotting Dilshan has battled for form of late.

This means Sri Lanka will have a distinctly Punjab Kings XI look of vulnerability to their batting line-up, with much reliance on Jayawardene and Sangakkara up front and little in the way of a middle and lower order.

Another shortcoming is a lack of reliable new-ball bowlers. Nuwan Kulesekara regularly gets hit for over ten-per-over and he has also battled to find a regular front-line partner for some time.

Six-hitter - Mahela Jayawardene

Jayawardene: Classical batsman

With the problems of Dilshan and 40-year old Sanath Jayasuriya already documented, Sri Lanka will require somebody new to the carry the six-hitting mantle.

A classical strokeplayer, Jayawardene, showed that quality cricket shots can score T20 hundreds with an unbeaten 110 in the IPL. He is admittedly not the most destructive hitter in world cricket, but the longer Jayawardene bats, the more sixes he will hit.

Strike Bowler - Lasith Malinga

Malinga: Deadly yorkers

Malinga is one of the deadliest strike bowlers in world cricket. The man discovered while playing beach cricket has mastered the art of death bowling and caught out many a top batsman with his toe-breaking yorkers.

He was his country's top wicket-taker in last year's competition and boasts a stunning strike rate of 16.6. 'Slinger' Malinga's economy rate of 7.50 is equally impressive, given that he is regularly used at the end of an innings.

Look Out For...Angelo Mathews

Mathews: All-round potential

He has already shown glimpses of his abundant potential, but the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean looks set to provide the platform on which Mathews will establish himself as a world star.

The 22-year old made his T20 debut for Sri Lanka in last year's event and has been a fixture in the side ever since. Three wickets in the semi-final and an unbeaten 35 in the final last June signalled the all-rounder's arrival.

More recently he has been part of the Kolkata Knight Riders' IPL campaign, and represented the franchise in all of their 14 matches, impressive given the calibre of international stars he kept out of the side.

Like most of the rest of us, Mathews tired of the IPL and his form waned, but his match-winning innings in game one, and the competition's best round-robin bowling performance of four for 19 in game two, suggests that a fresh start with his national team might bring out the best in him.

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