by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka’s selectors have left out former captain Angelo Mathews from the World Cup Qualifiers that will begin in Zimbabwe shortly. There was not much change from the squad announced for the bilateral series against Afghanistan with the only omission being that of Mathews.
Mathews had made a comeback to the ODI side when Sri Lanka toured New Zealand a couple of months back and was dropped after the first ODI against Afghanistan. Since making a comeback to the ODI side in more than two years, Mathews had managed scores of 12, 0 and 18.
However, if hard hitting batsman Kusal Perera hadn’t recovered from a hamstring injury, Mathews was expected to be part of the squad for Zimbabwe, despite not having a big knock to his name. It was leg-spinner Dushan Hemantha who was expected to miss out but the selectors have chosen to pick two leg-spinners with Wanindu Hasaranga being the number one pick.
As for Kusal Perera, the hopes of him recovering in time for the qualifiers have faded away. The batsman returned to international cricket after shoulder surgery in New Zealand but featured only in T-20 cricket. Even if he wasn’t picked for the Afghanistan series, he was tipped to make it to the World Cup Qualifiers but his hamstring is continuing to give trouble.
Sri Lanka will be pleased that Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara have recovered from injuries and the team’s hopes of earning one of the two remaining slots for the World Cup are very much high. Extra pace is going to be vital against associate countries who’ll be featuring in the qualifying round. Even Afghansitan were shaken up by the pace as Chameera and Kumara claimed the top six wickets with the new ball in the deciding third ODI where the tourists were shot out for 116.
The lack of left-arm variety in the attack is cause for some concern but the selectors seem to be adamant that they have got all bases covered. The return of Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne to the ODI side is the biggest plus point as Sri Lanka had struggled to bat out their 50 overs in recent months. The irony is that the same selectors who axed him have recalled him.
Sri Lanka Squad:
Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha
Kalinga, Aruna, Nadeesha qualify for Asian Games finals
by Reemus Fernando
All three Sri Lankan sprinters qualified for the finals of their respective disciplines to give country’s track and field campaign a positive start at the Asian Games on Friday.While Kalinga Kumarage and Aruna Dharshana qualified for the men’s 400 metres final, Asian Championship gold medallist Nadeesha Ramanayake reached the finals of the women’s 400metres.
Ramanayake clocked the third fastest time in the heats to qualify for the finals where Bahrain’s Oluwakemi Kujidat and Salwa Nesar are the strongest contenders for the gold medal.
Competing in the third heat Ramanayake clocked 52.67 seconds to finish second behind Oluwakemi Kujidat. Ramanayake’s time was the third fastest in the heats in the final analysis. While former world champion Salwa Nesar was the winner in the second heat, Shereen Samson of Malaysia won the first heat in a time of 52.89 seconds.
Both Salwa and Oluwakemi Kujidat were not in the fray when Ramanayake won Sri Lanka the gold medal at the recently held Asian Athletics Championship. Ramanayake will have a tough ask today when she competes for Asian Games glory.
In the men’s category 400 metres, Kumarage clocked 45.57 seconds to win his heat, while Aruna Dharshana finished third in his heat in a time of 46.07 seconds.\Kumarage’s 45.54 seconds is the third fastest time in the heats, while Dharshana enters final as the eighth fastest from the heats.
All three sprinters will be eager to create history when they compete in the 400 metres finals. Sri Lanka has not won a medal of any colour in track and field at these Games since 2006.
Sri Lanka won two bronze medals at the Asian Games in Doha. Susanthika Jayasinghe in the women’s 200 metres and the men’s 4×400 metres team of Sugath Thilakaratne, Rohan Pradeep Kumara, Prasanna Amarasekara and Ranga Wimalawansa were the last medallist for Sri Lanka in track and field at these Games.
New Zealand 96-17 Italy: All Blacks move to cusp of Rugby World Cup quarter-finals
Superb New Zealand scored an incredible 14 tries and hit 96 points against Italy in Pool A to move to the cusp of the World Cup quarter-finals.
Knowing a defeat would see them eliminated, the All Blacks raced into a pulsating 49-3 half-time lead. They ultimately ran out 96-17 victors with scrum-half Aaron Smith scoring a hat-trick after just 33 minutes.
The All Blacks will guarantee a spot in the knockouts with a win over Uruguay in their final pool match on Thursday. Italy must beat hosts France in their next match to reach a first World Cup quarter-final.
The All Blacks’ win sees them jump up to second in Pool A, level on points with Italy who they now have a superior head-to-head record over.
New Zealand cruise past Pakistan’s 345 with five wickets in hand
Kane Williamson’s return to action headlined New Zealand’s first official warmup match of the 2023 World Cup as they hit the right notes with the bat in a high-scoring game in Hyderabad. Mohammad Rizwan (103) and Babar Azam (80) provided a good platform and the middle order got amongst the runs to help Pakistan post 345. The total, however, proved insufficient as New Zealand, led by Rachin Ravindra’s 97 and three other half-century scores, including that of Williamson, pulled off the chase with 6.2 overs to spare
After Devon Conway was dismissed by Hasan Ali for a golden duck, Ravindra and Williamson got together and added 179 runs in just 22 overs to power New Zealand’s chase. Williamson decided to retire after crossing fifty while Ravindra was dismissed by Agha Salman before he could get a ton. Usama Mir then picked up the wickets of Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips in quick succession but fifties from Mark Chapman and Daryl Mitchell, and an important 33 from James Neesham, helped New Zealand over the line in the 44th over.
Earlier, After opting to bat, Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq in the second over to Matt Henry while Mitch Santner had Abdullah Shafique out stumped. Babar, who started watchfully, found his groove while Rizwan also scored at a steady rate as they raised a century partnership to set things up nicely for Pakistan. Babar, however, missed a hundred while Rizwan retired after reaching three figures, giving Pakistan’s lower middle order some time out in the middle. Saud Shakeel (75) and Agha Salman (33*) came up with handy contributions to propel Pakistan past 340.
Pakistan 345/5 in 50 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 103, Babar Azam 80; Mitch Santner 2-39) lost to New Zealand 346/5 in 43.4 overs (Rachin Ravindra 97, Mark Chapman 65; Usama Mir 2-68) by 5 wickets
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