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ICC World Cup 2019 | Sri Lanka Need to Click in Every Area to Beat New Zealand: Gurusinha

Devadyuti Das |June 1, 2019, 7:58 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Sri Lanka Need to Click in Every Area to Beat New Zealand: Gurusinha

The 1996 World Cup champions Sri Lanka are entering the 2019 edition far from being favourites. In fact, 11 ODI losses and just two wins since the Asia Cup last year means the Lankans will be glad if they don’t finish dead last in the 10-team tournament.

The nation though remains optimistic about their chances having known their previous record in World Cups. A title in 1996 and finals appearances in 2007 and 2011 mean the men from the Emerald nation always raise their game when it comes to the World Cup.

Dimuth Karunaratne’s side will kickstart their campaign against New Zealand in Cardiff on Saturday (June 1).

“They have done all they could to be prepared for this game and the World Cup. They arrived in England on May 7 and they have been in the country for three weeks now to acclimatize well,” Sri Lanka cricket’s high performance director and former batsman Asanka Gurusinha told CricketNext.

“At the end of the day performance on the field matters but how we have played in the last few games or the last few months hasn’t helped us. It’s going to be a tough one but Sri Lanka cricket have always stepped up in World Cups, you can’t count us out. We have to click in every area to beat New Zealand, we are ready but depends on how we meet the challenge,” he added.

Gurusinha was an integral part of the 1996 World Cup-winning campaign. While Aravinda de Silva scored the match-winning century in the final, Gurusinha’s 65 in the same match was equally crucial.

“I think we beat a lot of good sides before that. We won a Test and ODI series in Pakistan, we did well in Sharjah and reached in the Benson & Hedges series final in Australia. We came with a good record and were confident of beating good sides. That was the major difference and we had a lot of experienced players who were playing together for a while,” the 52-year-old said.

Karunaratne-Thirimanne (AFP)

Gurusinha believes the 2019 World Cup is going to be a batsman’s delight and won by sides who can regularly score or defend 300-350 totals.

“This World Cup is going to have successful sides who can score 300-350 and defend that. I don’t think Lanka have got a choice to say what is their strength. Our batting is really good, bowling if the condition is seaming around we have some good pacemen. We got to be able to chase 350 runs and win games or score 350. So for me batting is going to be really important,” he said.

That’s why batsmen like the opener and skipper Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera need to fire on a regular basis for the team to be successful.

“The top 5 batsmen need to score. All World Cups are won by those players. You can’t depend on late order to bail you out,” Gurusinha felt.

Finally asked about the importance of former ODI captain Lasith Malinga in this line-up, Gurusinha said, “Malinga it the most important person for us with the ball. He’s a wicket-taker at any stage of the innings. He will have to lift his game and how he performs is going to determine our chances in this World Cup.”

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more