Zeenews Sports Bureau
Hambantota: Sri Lanka take on Zimbabwe in the opening match of the ICC World T20 on Tuesday at Hambantota.
Hosts Sri Lanka are one of the favourites in the tournament while Zimbabwe have to step up their performances to upset the top teams in the ICC event.
This is a great chance for Sri Lanka to win their first ever T20 World Cup as the tournament is taking place on their home soil. Though they lost their warm-up match against India, they remain a strong contender for the title in the tournament.
Batting remains Lanka’s biggest strength as several world class players like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara feature in their team. Opener Dilshan is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world. There is hardly any bowler in the world to stop him when he gets going. Sri Lanka will hope that he remains in top form.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene is another one who can be destructive in any form of the game. He can open the innings and also can join former captain Kumar Sangakkara in the middle-order. But irrespective of the batting order, both the batsmen are vital for the team’s batting. Lahiru Thirimanne, who bats at number 5, is also a dangerous batsman and Zimbabwean bowlers will find it hard to contain him.
The batsmen will be followed by pace bowling all-rounders in the side - Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara. Mathews is one of the best all-rounders in the world while Perera is establishing pretty fast as a potent all-rounder.
Pace man Lasith Malinga remains their main strike bowler who will be supported by Mathews and Perera. The spin department will be taken care by Ajantha Mendis and Akila Dananjaya.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will be little jittery as their current form is the cause for concerns. They lost their two warm-up matches against Ireland and Bangladesh.
They will bank on their experienced batsmen like skipper Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda. In the bowling department their star performers are expected to be Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Richard Muzhange, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu.
Zimbabwe Squad: Brendan Taylor (captain), Stuart Matsikenyeri, Vusi Sibanda, Ray Price, Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Brian Vitori, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Prosper Utseya, Forster Mutizwa
Sri Lanka Squad: Mahela Jayawardena (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Akila Dananjaya, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Jeewan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanna