Current Captain: Dasun Shanaka
Current Head Coach: Chris Silverwood
Best Finish in T20 World Cups: Champions (2014)
Last Edition: Finished 8th out of 16 teams
Sri Lanka’s quality of cricket at the international stage may have declined in recent years but they used to be a powerhouse until at least five years since the advent of T20Is. They have had 11 captains in T20 Internationals to date.
Mahela Jayawardene was the first one to lead the Sri Lankan side in this format, followed by Tilakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara. Currently, the Lankan side plays under the leadership of Dasun Shanaka and their head coach is Chris Silverwood, who was appointed recently. Jayawardene is also there as a consultant and former Sri Lankan fast bowling legend Chaminda Vaas is their fast bowling coach.
Sri Lanka’s History in T20 Internationals
If we go by the number of matches, Sri Lanka is one of the most experienced teams in this format. They have played a total of 156 matches to date, winning 68 and losing 83 games. Three more games have resulted in ties while two have yielded no result. They played their first T20 match against England in Southampton in June 2006.
Sri Lanka rode on Sanath Jayasuriya’s all-round brilliance to register a thrilling two-run win over the hosts. Jayasuriya scored 41 off 30 deliveries at the top of the order and also picked up two wickets for 32 runs. England all-rounder Paul Collingwood’s bowling effort went in vain as he registered superb figures of 4-0-22-4.
As far as their performance in the T20 World Cup goes, they were one of the best for the first five editions. After finishing sixth in the inaugural edition in 2007, Sri Lanka finished as the runners-up in 2009 where they lost to Pakistan.
They also made it to the semifinals in 2010 and once again finished as the runners-up in 2012. After heartbreaks in four consecutive editions, Sri Lanka were finally able to lift the trophy in 2014 by beating India in the final. But they have finished eighth in consecutive editions since then and will be desperate for a better outing in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.
Who Holds the Sri Lanka T20 International Records?
Former captain and opener Tilakaratne Dilshan is the leading run scorer for Sri Lanka in the history ot T20 Internationals. Dilshan amassed 1889 runs in 80 games for his country, including a century and 13 fifties. His best knock of 104* came against Australia in Pallekele in 2011.
Sri Lanka won that match by 35 runs. Dilshan’s 104* is also the highest score by a Sri Lanka batter in T20Is. Next in the list of most T20I runs for Sri Lanka are Kusal Perera and Mahela Jayawardene with 1539 and 1493 runs respectively.
Speaking about the bowling records, legendary pacer Lasith Malinga leads the charts with 107 wickets in 84 matches. Malinga also registered two five-fors in his T20I career, the best of which was figures of 5/6 against New Zealand in Pallekele in 2019.
The record for the best bowling figures by a Sri Lankan bowler in T20 Internationals is held by Ajantha Mendis, though. The mystery spinner recorded brilliant figures of 6/8 against Zimbabwe in Hambantota in 2012. Mendis is also the joint second highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka along with Nuwan Kulasekara.
Both have picked up 66 wickets but Mendis has done it in fewer matches. The player occupying the third spot in the list is wrist-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who has 57 wickets to his name in just 35 games.