Confident Lankans leave for South Africa
Sri Lanka will be looking for a consistent performance from their top
players as they leave for South Africa today in preparation for the
sixth edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions
Trophy limited overs cricket tournament which will be staged from
September 22 to October 5.
All matches will be split between two venues Centurion and The
Wanderers with the top ranked eight teams in the world - Australia,
England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, host South Africa, Sri Lanka and
the West Indies - divided into two pools of four, with the top two from
each pool progressing to the semi-final stage.
In fact Sri Lanka will take on South Africa in the curtain raiser
match of the tournament a day night fixture on September 22 at the
Centurion. Their other group ‘B’ matches are against England on
September 25 and New Zealand on September 27. The Group ‘A’ comprise of
Australia, India, Pakistan and West Indies.
Sri Lanka are also scheduled to play two warm up matches against
Pakistan and the West Indies on September 18 and 20 respectively.
Meanwhile the title holders Australia begins their defence of its ICC
Champions Trophy crown on September 26 (Saturday) against the West
Indies in a repeat of the 2006 final.
As more prize money is at stake than ever before the players emphasis
this event is all about champion players in nation versus nation action,
with honour and prestige. Sri Lanka of course failed to reach the
semi-finals at the previous event and will be hoping for an improved
Even then Sri Lanka could certainly take heart from their recent
performances at home where they defeated Pakistan 3-2 and then narrowly
missed out the chance of winning the Compaq Cup Tri Series final against
In addition the team has proved that they have the potential to
perform well at major events having emerged runners up to Pakistan at
the recent ICC Twnety20 World Cup in England.
The ICC Champions Trophy is an elite event for the top eight nations
in the ICC One Day International Rankings. The event, formerly known as
the ICC Knockout, has been held five times and has been won by a
different side on each occasion.
The winners of the competition include South Africa (1998), New
Zealand (2000), Sri Lanka and India (2002), who were the joint winners
after the final was washed-out, West Indies (2004) and Australia (2006).
The tournament has been staged in Bangladesh (1998), Kenya (2000), Sri
Lanka (2002), England (2004) and India (2006).
The Sri Lanka team: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Muttiah Muralitharan,
Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena, Upul
Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapegedera, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan
Kulasekera, Thilan Thushara Mirando, Thilina Kandamby, Dhammika Prasad,
Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga.
Follow the Sri Lanka team in South Africa.
(Warm up matches): September 18 - v Pakistan (d/n) at Willowmoore
Park, Benoni September 20 - v West Indies (d) at LC de Villiers Oval,
Pretoria (ICC Champions Trophy): September 22 - v South Africa (d/n) at
Centurion September 25 - v England (d/n) at The Wanderers September 27 -
v New Zealand (d) at The Wanderers October 2 - 1st semifinal (d/n) at
Centurion October 3 - 2nd semi-final (d/n) at The Wanderers October 5 -
Final at Centurion.