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T20 World Cup 2024: Sri Lanka failed to click as a team

T20 World Cup 2024: Top reasons why Sri Lanka failed to reach to Super 8s. Sri Lanka's only win came against Netherlands in group stage.

T20 World Cup 2024: Sri Lanka failed to click as a team | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©T20WorldCup_X)
T20 World Cup 2024: Sri Lanka failed to reach Super 8s (Photo: ©T20WorldCup/X)

Sri Lanka, the 2014 champions of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, experienced another underwhelming performance in the 2024 edition. They became the first team to be eliminated from Group D. Despite entering the tournament with high hopes, their campaign was plagued by a series of issues that culminated in their early exit. 

This article delves into the primary reasons behind Sri Lanka’s poor performance, focusing on their lack of recent cricket as a cohesive unit, the change in captaincy and their inability to function as a cohesive team.

Lack of recent cricket as a team

One of the critical factors contributing to Sri Lanka’s subpar performance was their lack of recent cricket as a unified team. With many players absent due to injuries and commitments to franchise leagues across the globe, the team had limited opportunities to play together and build the necessary synergy for a major tournament like the T20 World Cup.

Cricket thrives on team dynamics and understanding among players. The lack of consistent play as a team left the Sri Lankan players without match practice and cohesion needed to perform at their best. Consequently, when they faced stronger, more cohesive teams like South Africa and Bangladesh, their lack of unity was evident. The Sri Lankan batting line-up struggled to build partnerships, getting bowled out for just 77 against South Africa and 124 against Bangladesh. Additionally, their bowlers failed to deliver consistent performances needed to win matches at this level.

Change in captaincy and Wanindu Hasaranga’s struggles

The change in captaincy also played a significant role in Sri Lanka’s disappointing campaign. Wanindu Hasaranga, one of the team’s standout players in recent years, was appointed captain. Since the Sri Lanka cricket board announced him as the captain, Hasaranga led the team in just seven matches—three against Zimbabwe, three against Afghanistan and one against Bangladesh—all of which were home games. Although Sri Lanka won both series 2-1, Hasaranga was not tested as a leader against formidable teams. Moreover, he missed the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) due to injury and hasn’t been a consistent part of the side.

Leading a team in a high-pressure tournament like the T20 World Cup is daunting, especially for a player with limited captaincy experience. Hasaranga, known for his exceptional all-round abilities, appeared out of sorts throughout the tournament. The additional responsibility of captaincy seemed to weigh heavily on him, affecting his performance both as a player and as a leader. His struggle to balance his individual game with the demands of captaincy was evident, causing a ripple effect on the entire team. The players looked uncertain and lacked direction, often making critical errors in crucial moments.

CWC 2023, South Africa vs Sri Lanka_ Kusal Mendis gave a good start to sri lanka _  Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Kusal Mendis couldn't get going in T20 WC 2024 (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)

Failure to click as a team

Perhaps the most glaring issue was Sri Lanka’s inability to click as a team. Cricket is inherently a team sport and success depends on the collective performance of all players. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka’s players failed to deliver cohesive performances. The batting line-up lacked consistency, with only a few players contributing sporadically. 

The team’s total of 77 against South Africa starkly highlighted their batting woes, as they struggled to build any momentum. Notably, their batting average in the tournament is a mere 16.08. They have scored runs at a run rate of 6.79, which is considered as very poor in T20I cricket. The top scorer for Sri Lanka is Kusal Mendis with only 75 runs in three games, which tells you the extent of struggle their batters have faced so far in the tournament.

Similarly, the bowling attack, which had shown promise in the past, failed to execute their plans effectively. Matches against South Africa and Bangladesh highlighted their inability to maintain pressure on the opposition, allowing them to score freely and take control of the games. The no-result match against Nepal due to rain further diminished their chances, leaving them with just one point from three games. 

The rising sensation Nuwan Thushara is the leading wicket-taker for Sri Lanka with six wickets in three games while Hasaranga stands second in the list with five scalps in as many games. However, other bowlers haven’t been able to make any impact. Matheesha Pathirana is the third in the chart with only two wickets, followed by former skipper Dasun Shanaka (2 Wickets) and Maheesh Theekshana (1 wicket). 

Elimination and the way forward

Sri Lanka’s elimination was confirmed when Netherlands batted for the minimum five overs required in their match against Bangladesh, sealing Sri Lanka’s fate regardless of the remaining outcomes. This marked the fourth consecutive time Sri Lanka failed to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, a stark contrast to their title-winning campaign in 2014.

To have any chance of progression, Sri Lanka needed a series of favourable outcomes, including a victory against Netherlands and both Netherlands and Bangladesh to lose their remaining matches. Additionally, Sri Lanka’s net run rate, the worst among all five teams in Group D, further diminished their slim chances of advancing.

Sri Lanka’s early exit from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 was the result of several interrelated factors. The lack of recent cricket as a team, the change in captaincy and their failure to function cohesively all contributed to their disappointing campaign. As they reflect on their performance, it is crucial for the team to address these issues, build a more cohesive unit and regain their confidence. With the right strategies and better preparation, Sri Lanka can hope to reclaim their former glory in future tournaments.


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