Pressure on Malinga to deliver as T20I series commences | Daily News


 

Kieron Pollard makes 500th T20 appearance today

Pressure on Malinga to deliver as T20I series commences

Sri Lanka T20I captain Lasith Malinga (on left) takes a catch during practice. and (on right)West Indies captain Kieron Pollard will be making his 500th T20 appearance today. AFP
Sri Lanka T20I captain Lasith Malinga (on left) takes a catch during practice. and (on right)West Indies captain Kieron Pollard will be making his 500th T20 appearance today. AFP

The performance of the Sri Lanka team in the ODI series under captain Dimuth Karunaratne where they completed a 3-0 whitewash will only place an extra burden on T20I captain Lasith Malinga to deliver when the two-match series commences at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium today at 7 pm.

Although Malinga has led Sri Lanka to a T20 World Cup win in 2014, his T20I captaincy has produced abysmal results – the team losing 13 out of 22 matches he has captained his country in with seven wins.

With the T20 World Cup not far away Sri Lanka will be hoping that Malinga will be able to turn the fortunes of his team into a winning one. But he cannot do it alone all by himself with his crafty bowling which the West Indies batsmen will be wary of.

The key issue in Sri Lanka’s recent losses to Australia and India has been the failure of the batsmen to put enough runs on the board. With top T20 sides like India, England and Australia continuously hitting the 200-run mark, Sri Lankan batsmen have a lot of work to do to get anywhere close.

It is hoped that their success in the ODI will inspire the top order batsmen to give the start the team requires to get to totals in excess of 180.

Today’s match also marks the 500th T20 appearance of West Indies captain Kieron Pollard at all levels. Pollard who plays with Malinga for Mumbai Indians in the IPL will certainly look forward to the contest.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons paying tribute to Pollard said, “It’s an amazing feat for someone whose had two knee constructions and other injuries and for him to still come back from those and to get to 500 is an enormous feat and something that he needs to be proud of.”

Simmons is hoping for a turn of fortune for his side after their 0-3 defeat in the ODIs with the team undergoing several changes especially with the arrival of T20 specialist players to bolster the side. “Happy to see some senior players, their preparation has been good. We’ve been here for about 4-5 days, everyone looks sharp and ready to go,” Simmons said.

On whether West Indies will start as favourites for the series, Simmons said, “I don’t think we can be favourites where we are in the ICC rankings. We need to start our preparations from now and we need to build up how we want to play in the World Cup and start putting together a squad for it and see how we perform. “We still have about 12 or 13 games before the World Cup. That’s enough time for us to put together the right squad and with the experience that we have in T20cricket it won’t be as hard as the ODI team.” - ST


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