Sri Lanka Cricket Team, Asia Cup 2022
Sri Lanka Cricket Team. Image Credits: Twitter

Best Sri Lanka Playing XI For ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.  Sri Lanka are without Dinesh Chandimal, who is on their stand-by list on this occasion, with Dasun Shanaka captaining his side for the second time at a T20 World Cup. Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka are two of the five players to have been included in the squad having missed out last time out in the UAE and Oman (2021 T20I World Cup).

Dinesh Chandimal
Dinesh Chandimal (Image Credit: Getty)

It has been a year of two halves for Sri Lanka, who have tasted defeat in their three bilateral T20I series but came alive when the tournament pressure was on. Sri Lanka suffered two series defeats against Australia, 4-1 down under and 2-1 on home soil, either side of suffering a 3-0 whitewash in India.

Sri Lanka National Cricket Team winning Asia Cup 2022 (Image Credits: Twitter)
Sri Lanka National Cricket Team winning Asia Cup 2022 (Image Credits: Twitter)

In the Asia Cup 2022, Sri Lanka recovered from its defeat to Afghanistan in the opening fixture to go undefeated from that point onwards, with three dramatic wins in a row. The final was more routine as they defeated Pakistan by 23 runs to claim their first T20I Asia Cup and stand them in good stead ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.

The Sri Lanka squad for T20 World cup 2022 has a 15-member team which includes: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera (subject to fitness), Lahiru Kumara (subject to fitness), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan.

Standby Players: Ashen Bandara, Praveen Jayawickrema, Dinesh Chandimal, Binura Fernando, Nuwanidu Fernando.

Sri Lanka qualified for the ICC T20I World Cup 2022 by virtue of qualifying for the Super 12 in the 2021 edition. However, since they were outside the top eight on the stipulated cut-off date of November 15, 2021, they will have to qualify for the Super 12 yet again. This time they have been grouped with Namibia, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates in Group A.

Sri Lanka will play all their First Round matches at Kardinia Park in Geelong. They will face Namibia on October 16, the UAE on October 18 (their only day-nighter), and the Netherlands on October 20.

If they top the group, they will be pooled with Australia, England, New Zealand, and Afghanistan in Group 1 of the Super 12. If they finish second, they will join India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and South Africa in Group 2.

(File) Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga kisses the ICC World Twenty20 trophy after defeating India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka in 2014 | AFP
(File) Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga kisses the ICC World Twenty20 trophy after defeating India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka in 2014 | AFP

After falling short on the final hurdle in 2012, Sri Lanka made amends at the very next edition and were crowned T20 World Champions for the first time in 2014. Lasith Malinga’s men topped their group with three wins from four games to set up a clash with West Indies in the semi-finals. In a repeat of the 2012 T20 World Cup final, Sri Lanka got the better of the Windies in a rain-truncated game in Dhaka.

In an all-Asia final, Sri Lanka bowled brilliantly to restrict India to 130 and chased it down easily with more than two overs to spare. It was a fitting farewell to Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, both of whom bid farewell to T20I cricket hoisted on the shoulders of their teammates and with the T20 World Cup trophy in hand.

Best Sri Lanka Playing XI For ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022

Kusal Mendis

Kusal Mendis. (Credits: Twitter)
Kusal Mendis. (Credits: Twitter)

Kusal Mendis scored 54 in the first warm-up match against Zimbabwe on October 11. His 54 off 29 balls including 6 fours and 3 sixes batting as an opener saw Sri Lanka win by 33 runs. He scored 155 in 6 matches in Asia Cup 2022 averaging 25.83 which included 2 fifties-60 against Bangladesh in the group stage and 57 against India in Super 4.

Pathum Nissanka

Pathum Nissanka
Pathum Nissanka Image Source: Twitter

Sri Lanka’s right-hand opening batter Pathum Nissanka scored 21 off 15 balls in the warm-up game against Zimbabwe. His knock included 4 boundaries. He scored 173 runs in 6 T20Is averaging 34.6 in Asia Cup 2022.

Dhananjaya de Silva

Dhananjaya de Silva
Dhananjaya de Silva (Image Credit: Twitter)

Dhananjaya de Silva, a Sri Lanka all-rounder replaced Charith Asalanka in the latter stages of Asia Cup 2022 after Charith Asalanka had scored only 9 runs in 4 T20Is. The all-rounder scored 17 off 16 balls in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe besides picking a wicket.

Dhananjaya de Silva scored 37 runs in 2 innings averaging 18.5 in Asia Cup 2022. He also picked 1 wicket in the continental tournament.

Danushka Gunathilaka

Danushka Gunathilaka
Danushka Gunathilaka (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

Danushka Gunathilaka scored 17 off 18 balls in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe. He had scored 63 runs in 6 T20Is averaging 10.5 in Asia Cup 2022. His batting average is less than 20 in T20Is and he would certainly want to make amends.

In the year 2020, he averaged a mere 10.5 at a below-par strike rate of 91.3 while in 2021 and 2022, he averaged 15.83 and 11.53 respectively.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa

Bhanuka Rajapaksa
Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Image Credit: Twitter)

Bhanuka Rajapaksa also scored 17 off 16 balls in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe. He was Sri Lanka’s highest run-getter in Asia Cup 2022 scoring 191 runs in 6 T20Is averaging 47.75 at a strike rate of 149.22.

Dasun Shanaka

Dasun Shanaka
Dasun Shanaka. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Dasun Shanaka started as an all-rounder for the Sri Lankan team but has played purely as a batter in the last six months, especially in T20Is. His presence at the crease has inspired the team to some incredible victories recently.

He scored an unbeaten 16 off 13 balls in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe. He scored 111 runs in 6 T20Is averaging 22.20 in Asia Cup 2022. He also picked 2/26 in the Super 4 clash against India besides scoring 33*.

Wanindu Hasaranga

Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga (Image: Twitter)

Wanindu Hasaranga was the leading wicket-taker in T20Is in 2021 and continued his sensational form in IPL 2022 for Royal Challengers Bangalore, scalping a total of 26 wickets, just one short of the Purple Cap winner Yuzvendra Chahal. He scored 66 in 6 T20Is averaging 22 and was the 2nd highest wicket-taker in Asia Cup 2022 with 9 scalps in 6 T20Is averaging 18.89.

Wanindu Hasaranga scored a 14-ball unbeaten 37 in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe. He was wicketless with the ball though. The rise of Wanindu Hasaranga has coincided with Sri Lanka’s breaking out of its transition phase. The all-rounder has quickly become arguably their most important player in limited-overs cricket and more so in the shortest format.

The wily leg-spinner has had opposition batters dancing to his tunes since making his T20I debut in 2019. In 44 T20Is, the third-ranked T20I bowler in the world has 71 wickets at a stunning average of 14.74 while giving away just 6.72 runs an over.

 Chamika Karunaratne

Chamika Karunaratne
Chamika Karunaratne (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chamika Karunaratne picked 7 scalps in 6 T20Is in Asia Cup 2022 averaging 20.71 besides scoring 66 runs averaging 33. The right-arm pacer picked 2/26 in 3 overs in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe. He picked the scalps of opener Regis Chakbva and Sikander Raza.

Maheesh Theekshana

Maheesh Theekshana
Maheesh Theekshana Image Source: Twitter

Maheesh Theekshana, the 22-year-old’s action, and bowling style are a bit similar to Indian bowling ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, and he often uses the carrom ball to deceive the batters, a trademark delivery of Ravichandran Ashwin. He picked 6 scalps in as many T20Is averaging 27 at an economy of 6.75 in Asia Cup 2022.

His partnership with Wanindu Hasaranga will be crucial for Sri Lanka in the middle overs. He picked 2/39 in 4 overs in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe.

Dilshan Madushanka

Dilshan Madushanka (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC via Getty Images)
Dilshan Madushanka (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC via Getty Images)

The 21-year-old left-arm seamer, Dilshan Madushanka, has also found a place in the Asia Cup 2022 squad. He debuted with Matheesha Pathirana in the Asia Cup 2022 match against Afghanistan and picked 6 scalps in 6 T20Is averaging 26. He was wicketless returning with figures of 0/25 in 4 overs in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe.

Dushmantha Chameera

Dushmantha Chameera
Dushmantha Chameera (Image Credit: Twitter)

Dushmantha Chameera didn’t play in the Asia Cup 2022 due to an injury. He was wicketless returning with figures of 0/25 in 4 overs in the 2022 T20I World Cup warm-up fixture against Zimbabwe.

Sri Lanka entered these warm-up fixtures after their shocking triumph in the 2022 Asia Cup tournament last month. Sri Lanka players put on impressive all-round displays throughout the tournament and were further boosted by the return of star pacers Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara.