Sri Lanka lost their first match to Namibia in the T20 World Cup but still made it to the Super 12. Ireland also had a similar story, losing to Zimbabwe in their opener, but then defeated Scotland and West Indies to advance.
Logically Sri Lanka would have been the clear favourites, but injuries have put them under pressure. Pacer Dushmantha Chameera has been ruled out of the tournament, with other quicks also picking up injuries. Top-order batters — Danushka Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka — are also carrying injuries.
Chamika Karunaratne hoped Nissanka would be able to particpate in their Super 12 opener in Hobart on Sunday. “He’s getting better. I don’t know what is the latest news, but I think he’s fine.
“I think he will be fine for the match, but I don’t know what the physio and the coach’s assessment is...” Karunaratne said.
“He just came for training. I saw that he was playing some shots, but I hope that he will be fine for the match.
“I don’t know what the coach and physio are saying because it’s a long tournament and we have more matches. Maybe he can rest, or maybe he will play.”
Sri Lanka are not taking Ireland lightly. “I was not surprised with their performance because when we started, we also lost. World Cup is always a big tournament. It’s always that, when the pressure is there, anything can happen... even West Indies are out of the tournament,” Karunaratne said.
“You know in a World Cup anything can happen because it’s pressure, stress, a lot of things out there.
“Now every team is getting better and better, and they’re fighting and playing good cricket and analysing every player.
“So I’m not surprised with Ireland because they have been playing good cricket and they are getting better and better as a team... even bowling, batting, fielding, all three of the formats they’re doing really well. So I’m not surprised.”