Excitement heats up for SL’s first global event in a decadeAugust 29, 2012, 9:42 pm
by Rex Clementine
The ICC World T-20 trophies arrived in Colombo yesterday morning together with several ICC officials, including former wicket-keeper batsman and its CEO David Richardson. Several events are lined up leading up to the tournament with Richardson addressing the media today alongside Sri Lanka cricketer Kumar Sangakkara in Colombo.
The tournament gets underway on the 18th of September at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium at Suriyawewa with hosts Sri Lanka taking on Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka were co-hosts of last year’s World Cup and have hosted other multi-national events such as the Asia Cup, but this will be the first major global sporting event which they host single-handedly since the ICC Champions Trophy which they hosted in 2002, ten years ago.
Apart from Suriyawewa, Pallekele International Stadium and R. Premadasa Stadium will host games of the 12-nation tournament that runs for two weeks with the final scheduled to be played at the R. Premadasa on the 7th of October. Happening alongside the men’s World T-20 tournament is the eight-nation women’s World T-20 event. All first round matches of the women’s event will be played at the Galle International Stadium and they will return to Colombo for the semi-finals and the finals.
Mahela Jayawardene’s side are in Group ‘C’ alongside South Africa and Zimbabwe and one grouse of local fans has been that they will not see the national team in action in the capital Colombo until the semi-finals. Sri Lanka’s women’s side, meanwhile, are in Group ‘B’ alongside New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa.
Australia are the defending champions of the women’s event while England won the title last time in the Caribbean in 2010.
Sri Lanka men’s team’s best outing in a World T-20 was when they reached the finals in England in 2009. In 2007 in South Africa when India won the event, Sri Lanka failed to make it to the semi-finals while in 2010 they were beaten by England in the semi-finals.
Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who captained the country in the last two World T-20s, will be back in action after being injured during the recent ODI series against India. Seam bowler Nuwan Kulasekara also returns to the side from injury.
Captain Jayawardene has had a knack of introducing new talent in big tournaments. He introduced Ajantha Mendis in Pakistan in 2009 during the Asia Cup and Sri Lanka went on to win the tournament and this time the national team has in their ranks the little-heard-of spinner of Akila Dananjaya, who was unearthed during a net session by Jayawardene and coach Graham Ford.
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Last Updated May 20 2013 | 06:12 pm