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Nidahas Trophy 2018: Here is the Sri Lanka predicted XI

The hosts have made some questionable changes to the side.

Sri Lanka cricket team
Sri Lanka cricket team. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Nidahas Trophy is a T20I tri-series that will be played between Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. The series will be played to commemorate Sri Lanka’s 70th year of independence. The island nation was freed from the rule of the British on 4th February 1948. India and Bangladesh who share a similar history with Sri Lanka will be a part of this tournament that is being played to celebrate their independence.

The tournament will be played in a round-robin format where each team will play the other two teams twice. ‘Nidahas’ means freedom in Sanskrit and the series was last played in 1998 to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 50th year of independence. Beginning from 6th March, the tournament will span out till the 18th of this month with a total of seven games that will be played. That said, we take a look at possible starting XI for Sri Lanka:

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Openers (Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka)

Kusal Mendis is a no-brainer to make it into the XI. He is possibly playing some of the best cricket in his life. He has been piling up some big number of runs in all formats of the game. Moreover, he seems to be in some great form in T20 cricket at the moment. In the two-match T20I series against Bangladesh in February, he scored 53 in the first game while he managed to score a 70 in the second. His innings came at a very impressive rate and he also had a good time with the Colombo County Club in the last three T20 outings.

Although not in the best of forms, Danushka can be more than a handful with the bat. He takes his side off to some quick starts. Danushka has the ability to strike the ball big and the team will hope that he can find the right kind of form ahead of the Nidahas Trophy. Furthermore, he can roll his arm over when needed and comes in handy with the ball as well.

Middle Order (Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal (c&wk))

Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal are two of the most experienced campaigners in the Sri Lankan team. These two bring in a sense of calm and add stability to the middle order. With the all-rounders being used as floaters in the line up according to the situation, it is important for these two to take up the responsibility. While Tharanga usually comes in at the No.3 position, Chandimal is seen batting much lower down the order.

Moreover, Chandimal triples up as the captain of the side as well as the wicketkeeper. Chandimal will don the keeping gloves as their regular keeper Niroshan Dickwella was axed from the squad. Also, he will have to step up to the occasion in the absence of their senior pro, Angelo Mathews. These two are to put their best step forward if Sri Lanka is to make an impact in the series.

Watch Nidahas Trophy live streaming here

All-rounders (Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis)

All the three Lankan all-rounders in the line up can hit the ball long and hard. Particularly, Perera and Shanaka can get going right from the word go and play some extremely destructive innings. It is clear from the strategies from the Sri Lankan team that they will be used as floaters in the lineup according to the situation. While the batting services of Mendis weren’t required in the Bangladesh series, the other two were at their destructive best. They were found smashing the bowlers all around the park giving the team much-needed impetus.

Furthermore, these three fare decently well with the ball. They give the team the much-required overs in the mid-phase of the game. Perera also bowls at the death at times and they give the skipper a plethora of options while bowling. Adding to these three is Gunathilaka who can also be slotted into the all-rounders’ column.

Bowlers ( Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Isuru Udana)

Although it is advisable to go with five proper bowlers in a T20 game, it is not exactly the case with Sri Lanka. They’ve got some good all-round options and the role of the fifth bowler came be shared among four players. Also, it gives the liberty for a regular bowler not to overburden himself. Sri Lanka might go with only one spinner in the side. Akila Dhananjaya will take up the responsibility of being the spinner and is at times useful with the bat as well.

The fast-bowling department will consist of Sri Lanka’s vice-captain Suranga Lakmal along with Dushmantha Chameera and Isuru Udana. With this team most likely to be the starting XI, Sri Lanka might also rope Amila Aponso into the side instead of a pacer if the pitch assists spin.

Watch Nidahas Trophy live streaming here

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