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Should win all three group games to be in ‘good state of mind’, says Lanka’s skipper Shanaka

The 2014 World T20 champions will face Ireland later on Wednesday after an easy seven-wicket win over Namibia.

SNS | New Delhi |

Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka has stated that the former World T20 champions’ goal is to win all three of their First Round Group games in order to be in a “positive frame of mind” when they reach the ICC T20 World Cup’s ‘Super 12’ round.

The 2014 World T20 champions will face Ireland later on Wednesday after an easy seven-wicket win over Namibia. Ireland was also impressive in their Group A encounter against the Netherlands, defeating the Dutch by seven wickets.

Ahead of the match, which will be Sri Lanka’s toughest in the Group stage, Shanaka said, “Winning all three games will definitely put us in a good state of mind, adjusting to conditions will help in the main tournament.”

Sri Lanka (10th) may have the upper hand going into the match, but only by a slim margin, as Ireland (12th) will be full of confidence after their impressive performance against the Netherlands.

Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga of Sri Lanka shared five wickets between them, but not before their fast bowlers, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, and later Lahiru Kumara, shook Namibia’s batters with their raw pace. Their performance simply confirmed what coach Mickey Arthur had anticipated before the competition, describing the attack as “nearly ideal.”

Ireland’s bowling attack would be confident as well, particularly Curtis Campher, who made history by taking four wickets in four successive deliveries, becoming only the third bowler in men’s T20Is to do so after Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

Mark Adair, who finished with figures of 4-0-9-3, gave him high praise. Andy Balbirnie, the captain, will be hoping for a repeat performance against Sri Lanka. The Irish batsmen, on the other hand, will have their work cut out for them against the calibre of the Sri Lankan bowling line.

Ireland looks a well-settled side and would not want to tinker too much with a winning combination, while they would be hoping for their star batters at the top of the order — Kevin O’Brien and captain Balbirnie — to come good in the clash against the former champions.

With four points from two games and a good run rate, Sri Lanka will almost certainly qualify for the next stage if they win. Even if they lose by a razor-thin margin to the Netherlands in their penultimate match, they could still advance.

If Ireland wins, they will advance to the next round, perhaps jeopardising Sri Lanka’s prospects of qualifying because the Lankans will have to win their final game against the Dutch squad.

Possible Ireland playing XI: Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andy Balbirnie, Gareth Delany, Curtis Campher, Harry Tector, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Mark Adair, Josh Little, Ben White.

Possible Sri Lanka playing XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara.