WC 2015 team profile: After losing 2 consecutive finals, can Sri Lanka do it differently?

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Sri Lanka, minnows to start in international cricket, made their way up through the years to win the coveted trophy in 1996 in home soil. The Asian side, known for its all-round ability, also made the finals in 2007 and 2011 but lost both of them.

[WC 2015 team profiles]

The 2015 World Cup will be last for two veteran players in the side, namely, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumara Sangakkara and the team will try to give a befitting farewell to these two batsmen of great calibre.

sri-lanka

In the 2015 World Cup, Sri Lanka are clubbed with New Zealand, Australia, England, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland in Pool A.

Here is Sri Lanka's schedule at WC 2015: Vs New Zealand (Feb 14), Vs Afghanistan (Feb 22), Vs Bangladesh (Feb 26), Vs England (Mar 1), Vs Australia (Mar 8), Vs England (Mar 11) [Full itinerary of WC 2015]

WC 2015 squad: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Lahiru Thirimanne (vc), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga (Subject to fitness), Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake

Sri Lanka's best performance: Champions in 1996

Runners-up in 2007, 2011

Semifinalists: 2003

Sri Lanka's success percentage in WC: 49.21% (played 66, won 31, lost 32, tied 1, no results 2)

Most matches as captain: Duleep Mendis 12 (Won 1, lost 11)

Highest team score: 398/5 vs Kenya in 1996

Lowest team score: 86 vs West Indies in 1975

Most number of matches in WC for Sri Lanka: Mutthaiah Muralidharan (40)

Sri Lanka's highest scorer in WC: Sanath Jayasuriya (1,165 runs in 38 matches at an average of 34.26, best 120)

Most number of wickets for Sri Lanka in WC: Muttiah Muralidharan (68 wickets in 40 matches, best 4 for 19)

Highest individual score by a Sri Lankan in WC: Aravinda de Silva (145 vs Kenya in 1996)

Best bowling figures by a Sri Lanka in WC:
Chaminda Vaas (6 for 25 vs Bangladesh in 2003)

Biggest win for Sri Lanka in WC: Vs Bangladesh and England by 10 wickets in 2007 and 2011, respectively; vs Bermuda by 243 runs in 2007

Narrowest win for Sri Lanka in WC: Vs New Zealand, Zimbabwe and South Africa by 3 wickets in 1983 and 1992, vs England by 2 runs in 2007

Biggest loss for Sri Lanka in WC: Vs West Indies by 9 wickets in 1975, vs Pakistan by 192 runs in 1975

Narrowest loss for Sri Lanka in WC: Vs South Africa by 1 wicket in 2007; vs Pakistan by 11 runs in 1983 and 2011

Looking back at Sri Lanka's performance in each World Cup since 1975:

1975: Minnows then, Sri Lanka lost all their matches in the first edition, including a 9-wicket hammering by the West Indies and a 192-run thrashing against Pakistan. The Sri Lankans though put up a gritty show against Australia against whom they lost by 52 runs. Anura Tennekoon was the captain of the side in this edition.

1979: Led by Tennekoon again, the Sri Lankans got their first victory in the World Cup in this edition when they stunned India by 47 runs at Old Trafford. They lost to New Zealand by 9 wickets while their match against the West Indies was abandoned and the Sri Lankans, who were yet to play their first test match then, finished third in the group above India.

1983: Duleep Mendis led the Sri Lankan side in this edition. They, however, had a forgettable tournament with just one won from six outings in the group stage, ending at the bottom of the table.

1987: Captained by Duleep Mendis again, the Sri Lankans had another horrendous World Cup in the sub-continent. They lost all six matches in the group stage, twice against Pakistan, England and West Indies, failing to get a single point.

1992: Sri Lanka were led by Aravinda de Silva in this edition played in Australia and New Zealand. They won two matches in the tournament, both against the African countries of Zimbabwe and South Africa and both were 3-wicket wins.

Sri Lanka's match against India was cancelled due to rain and Sri Lanka ended eighth among nine teams in the tournament.

1996: This World Cup marked a new era in the history of Sri Lankan cricket. The side, captained by Arjuna Ranatunga, emerged the group champions after getting walkovers from Australia and West Indies and beat England, India and Australia in the quarter finals, semifinals and finals to win their maiden World Cup title.

The sensational batting from the Sri Lankan opening pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana was the high mark of this World Cup and the success of the Sri Lankan side.

1999: The defenders had a poor run in this edition as they failed to make the Super Six stage. Their two wins came against Zimbabwe and Kenya and the Ranatunga-led side finished fifth among six teams in the group. The Lankans would remember the epic 183 scored by India's Sourav Ganguly at Taunton in this edition, ending the match at the half time itself.

1996 saw a spectacular turnaround in Lankan cricket as they won their 1st title

2003: Led by Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka topped the group with four wins and one loss (a shocking one against Kenya) but could manage just one win in the Super Six stage and suffered huge losses against Australia and India. The Lankans lost against eventual champions Australia in a rain-hit semifinal at Port Elizabeth.

2007: Mahela Jayawardena led Sri Lanka in this World Cup played at the Caribbeans and the team handed heavy defeats to Bermuda (243 runs), Bangladesh (198 runs) and India (69 runs).

In the Super Eight stages, Sri Lanka won four matches while lost two, including a very close one against South Africa. They beat New Zealand by 81 runs in the semifinals but lost to Australia by 53 runs in a rain-curtailed finals. Lasitha Malinga was a special player for the Sri Lankans in this tournament.

2011: Led by Kumara Sangakkara, Sri Lanka looked a formidable side in their home soil and the team had a good start as they won four out of six matches in the group stage and losing one (by 11 runs against Pakistan). They beat England by 10 wickets in the quarterfinals and New Zealand by 5 wickets in the semifinals.

In the finals, a magnificent ton by Mahela Jayawardena helped the Lankans pose a challenging score of 274 against India in the finals but it did not prove to be adequate to stop a strong Indian batting line up from reaching home.

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