Munaweera breaks into the international fold
Without the usual razzmatazz and the fanfare of a global event launching, the fourth edition of the ICC T-20 Championship gets off the shelf on Tuesday with hosts Sri Lanka taking on Zimbabwe on a Group ‘C’ match at the Mahinda Rajapakse Stadium in Sooriyawewa at 7.30 p.m.
Asantha de Mel – the Lankan chief selector is quite satisfied with the team composition as veteran Kumar Sangakkara is back in the fold and will man the duties behind the stumps besides his own contributions with the bat. This time around the Lankans will have a ‘Double Dilshan’ opening combination with former Nalandian, Munaweera opening the inning with veteran T.M.
De Mel put this combination in its perspective. He said “Right now the new found opener Dilshan Munaweera is batting well. He got his twenty four runs while the generally explosive T.M. Dilshan had scored only three runs in their warm-up game against the West Indies. In a T-20 game if all batsmen get twenty runs a piece it would add up to a good score.”
If Munaweera occupies the opening slot, Dinesh Chandimal who has been performing rather inconsistently in recent times may find it hard to find a slot in the final Xl. This would also mean that skipper Mahela Jayawardena would be coming in at number three followed by Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Jeewan Mendis and Tissera Perera. This would leave room for two seamers and a spinner. De Mel feels those three slots would be covered by Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera and Ajantha Mendis.
De Mel also professed, “There is no point in filling the line with batters in a twenty over game. We have two all-rounders in Mathews and Thisara Perera while Jeewan Mendis also could deliver his leg spinners. However, they also must balance their sides according to the respective oppositions and that will be the responsibility of the coach and the captain.”
If the need arises in a game to carry an extra specialist spinner then Jeewan Mendis may have to make way for him.
If the Lankans do not take the game lightly Brendan Taylor’s Zimbabwe outfit may not pose a huge threat to the home team. In their initial matches the Lankans made short work of the West Indian Xl while Zimbabwe lost to promising Ireland by 54 runs.
The Zimbabwe batting revolves round Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, skipper Taylor, Craig Ervine, wicket keeper Batsman Stuart Matsikenyeri and Edward Chigumbura.
The bowlers that the Lankan batters will have to watch-out will be seamers Chris Mpofu and Brian Vitori along with veteran left armer Raymond Price.
(For more news on the ICC T-20 Championships see the free pull out issued with today’s paper)
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