Shanaka confident can shock T20 world champions Australia

By Sports Desk June 06, 2022

Dasun Shanaka is confident Sri Lanka can claim a shock win over world champions Australia in a T20 International series that starts in Colomba on Tuesday.

The visitors previously beat their hosts 4-1 in a five-match series in February on home soil after winning the T20 World Cup for the first time in Dubai.

Aaron Finch's side have since won a one-off match in Pakistan despite being without a whole host of players.

They are close to full strength for the start of the three-match series, with Finch and Marcus Stoinis the only players who featured in that win in Lahore who have named in the team for the opener at the R.Premadasa Stadium.

Yet Sri Lanka captain Shanaka believes his side can make the most of the conditions on the back of a triumph for the Test side against Bangladesh in such tough times due to a financial crisis in the country.

He said: "We gained much playing Australia in their own backyard last time out and I'm confident that we are well geared in the batting and bowling to get the better of them with our home conditions in our favour."

Shanaka added: "Lots of our players have benefited by playing in the recent IPL and that experience would be a leading edge to maximising their potential when Sri Lanka locks horns with the Australians strong as they are.

"A positive factor for our players at the IPL is that they have gained the opportunity of flexing their muscles in gay abandon, unlike back home where the domestic season has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in several players being laid down, while the adverse weather has been a negating factor as well."

Sri Lanka have named uncapped duo Nuwanidu Fernando, a top-order batter, and Matheesha Pathirana, a right-arm seamer, in their squad early in a new era under head coach Chris Silverwood.

The tourists are without Pat Cummins (rested) and Adam Zampa (parental leave), while Michael Di Venuto is filling in at the start of the series after head coach Andrew McDonald was forced into isolation back home following a positive COVID-19 test.

 

Finch in the spotlight

Australia captain Finch endured a frustrating Indian Premier League, scoring only 86 runs in five innings for Kolkata Knight Riders.

The opener did make 55 in his last game for his country, the T20I success over Pakistan, and the tourists will be looking for him to set the tone at the top of the order with the T20 World Cup on home soil fast approaching.

Hasaranga key for Sri Lanka

If Sri Lanka are to pull off an upset, Wanindu Hasaranga will surely have a big part to play after an excellent IPL for the spinner.

The tweaker was the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament behind with 26 at an average of 17.65 for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Maheesh Theekshana can also trouble the tourists as they face a trial by spin.

Related items

  • Nadal suggests French Open farewell after Zverev forces first-round disappointment Nadal suggests French Open farewell after Zverev forces first-round disappointment

    Rafael Nadal says there is a high chance he has appeared at the French Open for the final time after his first-round exit on Monday.

    The Spaniard has won a record 14 titles on the clay courts at the Paris tournament, yet came unstuck in a straight-sets hammering by Alexander Zverev.

    An emotional Court Philippe-Chatrier crowd watched on as Nadal was picked apart by the impressive Zverev, who triumphed 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in just over three hours.

    In doing so, Zverev became only the third player to defeat Nadal at Roland-Garros – after Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic.

    Yet this defeat could mark Nadal's last in the French capital as speculation swirls over the 37-year-old's future with injury issues persisting.

    Nadal said after the loss: "It's incredible. I don't know if it's going to be the last time that I'm going to be here in front of all of you.

    "I am not 100 per cent sure, but if it's the last time, I have enjoyed it. The crowd have been amazing during the whole week of preparation and today.

    "The feelings I have today are difficult to describe in words. For me, it's so special to feel the love of the people in the place that I love the most."

    Nadal has won 112 matches at Roland-Garros, the highest tally in men's singles main draws in the Open Era at a single major event.

    The 22-time major winner adding to that impressive record appears unlikely.

    "I have been going through a very tough two years in terms of injuries," he continued. "I went through all these processes with the dream to be here at Roland Garros.

    "I was competitive, I had my chances, but it was not enough against a great player like Sacha.

    "There's a big percentage that I will not be back here playing at Roland-Garros, but I can say that I've enjoyed playing here a lot.

    "Maybe, in two months, I say it's enough and I can't give anything else, but it's something I don't feel yet.

    "I have some goals. I hope to be back on this court for the Olympics, that motivates me. That's going to be another chance. I really hope to be well-prepared."

  • Birthday boy Sunil Narine becomes IPL's MVP for a record third time after KKR's triumph Birthday boy Sunil Narine becomes IPL's MVP for a record third time after KKR's triumph

    Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Sunil Narine was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Indian Premier League 2024, marking a historic third time he has won the prestigious award. The former West Indies cricketer played a pivotal role in KKR's emphatic victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL final on Sunday, May 26, when he celebrated his 36th birthday.

    Narine's stellar performance throughout the season was a key factor in KKR's success. He scored 488 runs at an average of 37.07 and an impressive strike rate of 179.85. With the ball, the 36-year-old off-spinner took 17 wickets, maintaining an economy rate of 6.90. Additionally, his fielding contributions were significant, with seven catches and three run-outs.

    "The feeling is overwhelming and I couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift. I am enjoying my cricket at the moment -- batting, bowling and fielding. What helps is when the team is winning," Narine said after receiving the MVP award.

    Narine's overall performance earned him 431.5 MVP points, putting him well ahead of second-placed Virat Kohli (315.5 points) and third-placed Travis Head (274 points).  The Trinidadian previously clinched the award in 2012 and 2018. He is also the first player to win the IPL MVP three times.

    The MVP award, formerly known as the Player of the Tournament, was renamed in 2013. It is awarded based on a player's performance across various metrics, including runs, wickets, boundaries, catches, run-outs, and dot balls. The calculation is as follows: 3.5 points for each wicket and six hit, 2.5 points for each boundary, catch, run-out, and stumping, and one point for each dot ball bowled.

    Narine’s unprecedented third MVP win highlights his all-around abilities and consistency over the years, cementing his status as one of the IPL’s greatest players. As KKR celebrates their triumph, Narine’s remarkable season stands as a testament to his enduring skill and dedication to the game.

     

  • Zverev sees off Nadal on potential French Open swansong Zverev sees off Nadal on potential French Open swansong

    Rafael Nadal's possible French Open swansong came to an end following a straight-sets defeat by Alexander Zverev.

    The German came out on top 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in just over three hours on an emotional Court Philippe-Chatrier.

    It is widely believed this will be the Spaniard's final appearance at Roland Garros, where he has won a record 14 titles, though the 37-year-old acknowledged he is not yet certain on his future.

    The two players were back on Chatrier two years after their notorious semi-final showdown, which was curtailed when Zverev suffering a horrifying ankle injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

    However, fresh from his ATP Masters triumph at the Italian Open, the German was quickly into his stride this time around, winning 12 of his last 13 service points on the way to taking the first set.

    The fourth seed, who has reached three successive French Open semi-finals, then prevailed in a nail-biting second-set tie-break, before a couple of breaks in the third paved the way for him to seal a commanding win.

    Data Debrief: Third time lucky for Zverev

    Whether or not that was Nadal's final match at the French Open remains to be seen.

    What is certain is that his 14 titles are the most by any player in a single tournament in the Open Era, and his 112 match wins are the highest tally in men's singles draws in a single major event.

    Of the 74 different opponents he has faced at Roland Garros, Zverev is only the third to defeat the Spaniard after Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.