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Wide-open Group A sets the tone for highly anticipated World Cup

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Group A is sure to make intriguing viewing in the first round of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 as Namibia, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) battle it out for the right to qualify for the Super 12.The teams will play each other once in a round-robin format from October 16-20, with the top two advancing onto the next stage.By virtue of their world ranking, Sri Lanka are favourites to progress but face a tricky first test in the form of Namibia, who progressed to the Super 12 stage in their first ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 12 months ago.UAE’s return to the competition comes against Netherlands, who are desperate to make up for a disappointing campaign last time out.

All six fixtures will take place at Kardinia Park in Geelong, with the winners joining reigning champions and hosts Australia, as well as Afghanistan, England, New Zealand and the Group B runners-up in Group 1 of the Super 12 stage.The team who finishes second will enter Group 2 and face Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the Group B winners.Namibia are fast establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

They were firm underdogs in their Round 1 group at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 but comfortable victories over Netherlands and Ireland ensured their progression to the latter stages.Since then, they have claimed their first-ever series win over a Full-Member nation, beating Zimbabwe (3-2) in a five-match T20I series in May. Captain Gerhard Erasmus was the star of the show in the win that secured qualification over Ireland, notching an unbeaten half-century before David Wiese hit the winning runs.

Wicketkeeper-batter Lohan Louwrens is one new addition to keep an eye on this time around. He has captained his country at the under-19s level previously and has already made a mark for the Eagles at the senior level, scoring 111 runs in a seven-wicket win against Hong Kong in June.Another new face already has a World Cup qualifying hat-trick to his name – Tangeni Lungameni was the scourge of the Mozambique top order during a qualifier for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and now gets his chance at the marquee tournament.

Though Sri Lanka will be a daunting first test, Namibia will hope that they get the better of the Netherlands in their second fixture, as they did last year, which could well set up a second consecutive Super 12 appearance.Ever-presents at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka are going to have to do it the hard way if they want to become champions for the second time.

The Lions reached the final on three occasions between 2009 and 2014 and struck gold at the third time of asking thanks to a typically assured innings from Kumar Sangakkara. But two consecutive eighth-place finishes – their lowest in the history of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup – means expectations have been tempered ahead of their next campaign.

The Asia Cup win in September suggests the side have turned a corner, however. Wanindu Hasaranga impressed with the ball there as only India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar took more wickets than the wily leg-spinner, who will want to retain his place in the ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year.Topping the group is the expectation for Sri Lanka, who will then be targeting a deep run in the knockout stages, which they hope will culminate in a second piece of silverware in as many months.

One of the final two teams to book a spot at the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the Netherlands are out to right a few wrongs in Australia. Slow starts in each of the previous two tournaments have cost them a place in the Super 12 stage.A defeat to Bangladesh and a washout against Oman saw them eliminated before their final first round fixture at the 2016 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Then, in 2021, they were soundly beaten in each of their three fixtures and were skittled out for less than 110 on two occasions.

That means a fast start is a must this year for the lowest-ranked side in the group and they will want to be in a strong position prior to their clash with Sri Lanka on October 20.One of those who struggled to get going in the UAE was Bas de Leede, who failed to make double figures in either of his group stage innings.

The summer was a much brighter time for the 22-year-old, though, who struck two T20I half-centuries against New Zealand and 89 against Pakistan in an ODI. If he and opener Max O’Dowd can find their best form, the Netherlands could well spring a surprise.After an eight-year hiatus, the UAE are back on the T20I world stage and looking to make history.

Their only previous ICC Men’s T20 World Cup appearance, in 2014, yielded three defeats, and so a win this time around would be their first in this event and only their second ever in a global ICC tournament, with their sole success to date coming against the Netherlands in the 1996 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.The Netherlands will be keen to avoid a repeat of that outcome when the pair meet in their opening fixture on October 16th, though the UAE do have the recent form on their side, having won four of their five previous meetings.

Bar a change in captain, preparations for the tournament have been smooth, and they gave two-time world champions West Indies a stern test in their penultimate warm-up fixture, with spinner Junaid Siddique impressing with figures of five for 13.They ultimately came up 17 runs short chasing 152 despite the best efforts of Muhammad Waseem (69 from 52) and Zawar Farid (29 from 14). It was a promising and morale-boosting team performance and one that suggests they have what it takes to ruffle a few feathers in Group 1.



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Sri Lanka looking for consolation win over Dutch

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Wanidu

Rex Clementine in Miami

Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign ended in bitter disappointment even before they departed to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia on Thursday. Their game on Sunday against the Netherlands is a dead rubber, but pride is at stake against the Dutch.

It’s been a campaign filled with hurt and disappointment for a team that had done reasonably well in white ball cricket this year. Sri Lanka simply failed to get going in the World Cup the moment Wanindu Hasaranga won the toss and opted to bat against South Africa.

It has been discussed over and over again how the team set themselves bigger totals and failed to realize that US wickets weren’t going to produce high scoring games.

Another issue that has gone unnoticed is how bowling let the side down. True, bowlers did well to put up a fight defending below par totals, but the 12 wides bowled in the Bangladesh game was costly. Apart from the runs, it obviously means that they sent down two additional overs due to the excessive amount of wides and the second game was lost with an over to spare. Then, obviously, the number of full tosses that were sent down during crucial stages of the game was a bitter pill to swallow.

The team’s strategy of banking on just two quicks didn’t work and perhaps the addition of Dushmantha Chameera may have helped them although the games were lost with batting.

While the selectors expressed confidence that they have enough fire power to clear boundaries, a requirement in T-20 cricket, it was evident that the batters chosen for the 20-nation competition weren’t capable of executing the big hits.

Wanindu Hasaranga had promoted himself up the order and had done quite well in his role as a ‘floater’ but he was a flop during the World Cup picking consecutive ducks.

Hasaranga’s handling game situations too has a lot to be desired, especially his bowling changes. Nuwan Thushar looked to be the most threatening of all bowlers against Bangladesh. The captain instead of holding onto his overs to be used in the death overs exhausted all his four overs and was forced to rely on Dasun Shanaka to send down the penultimate over. The Sri Lankan captain has much to learn from the likes of Rohit Sharma. The Indian captain used Jasprit Bumrah superbly during the epic clash against arch-rivals Pakistan.

When Sri Lanka lost the warm-up game to Netherlands all lead bowlers had been rested. You would expect all of them to be on show for Sunday’s game.

Conditions in St. Lucia might tempt the team to back the two-spin combination, but it will be tough to leave out Chameera after back to back losses. He was expected to play the Nepal game which was rained out in Florida.

Sri Lanka’s players were left stranded in Florida due to the floods. They were expected to fly out from Fort Lauderdale airport on Wednesday evening, but due to torrential rain and subsequent floods they were unable to leave their hotel rooms. They were expected to fly out to St. Lucia at 8:30 pm on Thursday on a chartered flight.

Their luggage had been already dispatched to the airport on Wednesday so the players had to live on the stuff that were there on their hand luggages.St. Lucia is a tiny Caribbean island that has a population of 180,000. The size of St. Lucia is 617 square kilometers but the country has its own Prime Minister and currency; East Caribbean Dollar.

St. Lucia is not a stronghold of West Indian cricket like Barbados, Antigua, Guyana or Trinidad. The only notable cricket from there is former captain Darren Sammy. In fact, the cricket ground in St. Lucia is named after him.

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Chamari Athapaththu ICC Women’s Player of the Month for May 2024

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Chamari Athapaththu

Chamari Athapaththu has won the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for a second time, after the Sri Lanka star beat a hot field to claim the coveted award for May 2024.Athapaththu edged out strong opposition from Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce and England’s Sophie Ecclestone for the monthly gong, adding the title for May to the monthly award she also won in September last year.

The all-rounder is already established as a modern-day great as Sri Lanka’s highest run-getter in both white-ball formats and the 34-year-old was at her brilliant best during last month’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2024 where she finished the event as the leading run-scorer.

After a relatively indifferent start to the tournament, she came into her own during the business end of the event, smashing a top-notch century in the final to give Sri Lanka the title and help the island nation earn their place at this year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

In her four games during the month of May, Athapaththu scored 151 runs at an average of 37.75 and was equally as impressive with the ball as she picked up six scalps at merely 9.16 runs per wicket.

Athapaththu was thrilled to have won the award again and the Sri Lanka captain paid special tribute to both Bryce and Ecclestone for their achievement during the month.

“I am extremely delighted and honoured to once again receive the ICC Women’s Player of the Month Award, and wish to mention that continuous recognition at this level keeps me motivated to further up my game and continue the good performance,” she said.

“I wish to mention here that, both Kathryn (Bryce) and Sophie (Ecclestone) are also two exceptionally talented players with a proven record and wish them the very best, whilst I thank my teammates for their support given to me in this endeavour.”

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National team set sail to 3rd Langkawi Youth Sailing Championship in Malaysia

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From left to Right: Minuga Hettigamage, Yusef Hazari, Randira Hangarangoda, Saditha Gamage, Anuda Silva, Sarath Kurgama (COO of YASL), Shemal Fernando (Director General of Sports), Mr. V. Satsorupan (Team Manager), Omar Hazari, Sakindu Denipitiya, Luqmaan Aneeq, Binal Perera (Absent Taalya Tranchell, Haren Wickramatilaka)

The Sri Lanka Junior National Sailing team are ready to set sail at one of the biggest youth sailing events – the 3rd Langkawi Youth Sailing Championship 2024 in Malaysia, from June 19 to June 23.The 11-member team comprising of nine students from Royal College and one each from S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, and Ladies College were scheduled to leave for Malaysia (on 16 June) to participate in the prestigious event.

Minuga Hettigamage, Randira Hangarangoda, Binal Perera and Luqmaan Aneeq from Royal College and Haren Wickramatilaka from S. Thomas’ College will represent the Optimist Class.

Yusef Hazari and Saditha Gamage will race in the ILCA 4 category, while Omar Hazari and Taalya Tranchell will race ILCA 6. Anuda Silva and Sakindu Denipitiya will take on ILCA 7. The team will be accompanied by National Coach Krishan Janaka and the ILCA National Coach Roshil Nisantha with Varunanathan Satsorupen as manager.

“Sailing has been an integral part of Sri Lanka through the ages and we are keen on promoting the sport, as this is an island nation with the perfect conditions. We have no doubt that our young sailors will continue to shine on international waters,” said the Director General of Sports, Shemal Fernando.

Kicking off on 19 June, the Lankans will compete against some of the world’s top racers from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Cambodia, Myanmar and Hong-Kong. The Sri Lankan team also boast of seasoned sailors including Taalya Tranchell of Ladies College, who represented Sri Lanka at the last Asian Games, and three times national champ Yusef Hazari of Royal College, as well as several other national podium winners.

Sailors under 21 will, race their boat classes including the Optimist, ILCA 4, ILCA 6, ILCA 7, International 420, 29ER and Windsurfing classes.

“The junior national sailing team has been training hard for this championship, and we have no doubt that they will bring back glory to Sri Lanka,” said Sarath Kuragama, the Chief Operating Officer of the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka, the national sailing body of the country.

The Youth Sailing Championship is an offshoot of the Langkawi International Regatta Perdana, the Prime Cup, which is a world ranking event on its 21st year.

“The Junior Championship evolved from the main event, and our intention was to provide a platform for young sailors to shine,” said Mohamed Afendi Abdullah, Chairman of the event and International Racing Officer. “We intent on providing the best championship that’s fair to all and want our sailors to enjoy Langkawi.”

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