Sri Lanka is probably the only team at the world cup that performed the way they were expected. Apart from the victory against England they did exactly what experts were predicting and that is their wins against teams like Afghanistan, Bangladesh and West Indies and defeats against teams like India, Pakistan and Australia.
Where they finished?
They finished sixth in the points table at the end of league phase with 8 points. Three of their victories came against England, West Indies and Afghanistan while they lost their games to India, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Their games against Bangladesh and Pakistan were washed out due to heavy rain.
What went wrong?
Before talking about players, the Sri Lankan fans are surely going to talk about the English weather. Sri Lanka is the team that suffered most due to poor weather conditions in the host country. The weather affected three of their first four games, with two of them being washed out completely. Two of their games that were washed out were against Bangladesh and Pakistan, the two oppositions they would have loved to play against. They had last 5 of nine games against top teams like India, Australia and England. Although they managed to overpower England somehow, they didn't have enough firepower to knock down the other giants.
Player who disappointed the most
Thisara Perera could manage only 61 runs from 6 innings he batted for Sri Lanka at the world cup at a horrible average of 10.16 and a strike rate of less than 100, he was more of a liability in the batting lineup. With the bowl, he could manage just one wicket at the tournament at an average of 207. The trump card of Sri Lanka at 2011 world cup where they made it to the final, failed badly in what could have been his last world cup in 2019.
The 21-year-old Avishka Fernando was given an opportunity in the second half of the tournament and he sealed the opportunities like a champion. He finished the tournament as a fourth-leading run-scorer for his team at the world cup despite playing just 4 innings. After getting a couple of decent starts against England and South Africa, he exhibited his talent in front of the world with a ton against West Indies. He finished the tournament with 203 runs at an average of 50.75 and a magnificent strike rate of 105.72.
What's next for them?
After the conclusion of a world cup, we see some star cricketers leaving the game. Lasith Malinga could be the one to hang his boots this time around. Malinga is turning 36 next month and at this age, the body of a fast bowler starts giving up. The picture that went viral on social media last month of him when he was topless revealed the level of fitness he is carrying at the moment. Although his fitness did not have much impact on his bowling at the world cup, he is surely not going to play another world cup. Sri Lanka needs to find his replacement as soon as possible and if we go through the figures of other Sri Lankan bowlers at the tournament, their future looks bleak. They have to invest on bowlers like Kasun Rajitha and prepare them for the future. Their U-19 team is full of talent, they just need to pat their backs and ask them to go out and do the job for them.
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