Playing 11 for the first T20

Sri Lanka is playing their first T20 against a strong New Zealand team tomorrow at Pallekalle. This allows us cricketing fans to do one of the favourite cricketing things; putting on selectors hat 😊.

We decided to select the playing 11 based on what is revealed at the press conference. During the presser, Malinga alluded that he is looking for a 7 – 4 combination. That is 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers. This means 4 overs have to be shared between 6 batsmen (excluding the wicket-keeper). He also revealed that he is expecting the wicket to be a dry one and expressed how Kiwis play well against pace bowlers. This would all mean that there would be a spin heavy attack tomorrow (01st).

Armed with this information, let’s start the selection.

First, who are the fixed players?

Lasith Malinga – Since he is the captain

Niroshan Dickwella – Since he is both the vice-captain and our main wicket-keeper

Avishka Fernando, Kusal Janith and Kusal Mendis are all permanent fixtures of the batting line-up. Dasun Shanaka will also be selected for his big-hitting prowess. Isuru Udana will also be selected for his death bowling. Also, he can get a few quick runs down the order. This would give us a partial lineup which would look like this.

  1. Niroshan Dickwella
  2. Avishka Fernando
  3. Kusal Janith
  4. Kusal Mendis
  5. ……………….
  6. ……………….
  7. Dasun Shanaka
  8. ………………..
  9. Isuru Udana
  10. ………………..
  11. Lasith Malinga

Now, let’s start filling the blanks 😊.

Since we need batsmen who can bowl as well, Dhanushka Gunathilaka may get a chance. If he is in, Kusal Janith may have to bat down the order to balance the team. Probably at number 5. After all, he is the perfect player to fill in for Mathews at number 5.

<<Review of the squad selected for T20s: Is dropping Mathews the right decision?>>

Number 6 would go to Shehan Jayasuriya. This is again because of his bowling.

Now the big question is, who would be our number 8. Akila Dhananjaya is ideal for this. But we are still not sure how strong is his mentality. This could open the gate to Wanindu Hasaranga. Wannidu brings in much-needed wrist spin to the team. He is also good with bat.

Number 9 could go to either Lahiru Kumara or Kasun Rajitha. Both are a similar type of bowlers. But Lahiru has few yards of extra pace over Kasun. Also, he has a mean bouncer.

Considering all that, this is our playing 11 for the first T20.

  1. Niroshan Dickwella
  2. Avishka Fernando
  3. Dhanushka Gunathilake
  4. Kusal Mendis
  5. Kusal Janith
  6. Shehan Jayasuriya
  7. Dasun Shanaka
  8. Wanindu Hasaranga
  9. Isuru Udana
  10. Lahiru Kumara
  11. Lasith Malinga

This line-up bats deep (till number 9) and gives 7 bowling options. Let us know how you feel.


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