Dasun confident of claiming series whitewash

24 March 2023 08:49 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


de Silva rejects rumours of refusing to bat at number 7

Sri Lanka's limited overs captain Dasun Shanaka was confident his team could complete a series whitewash against New Zealand to claim an automatic spot in the Cricket World Cup later this year. 

Sri Lanka open their three-match ODI series at Auckland tomorrow, needing to win all three ODIs against the hosts to guarantee direct qualification to the World Cup. 

Sri Lanka could qualify with one or two wins, but that would depend on the results of South Africa's two match series against the Netherlands. 

Failure for Sri Lanka would result in them having to take part in a qualification tournament to gain entry into the World Cup. 

"It's possible. It depends on the day. New Zealand is a good side and we aren't taking anything for granted. We need to do the hard work to win the series," Shanaka added.

Sri Lanka will be buoyed by the inclusion of experienced former Test captain Angelo Mathews, who last played an ODI in March 2021. 

There was controversy on the eve of the first ODI, with reports suggesting that Dhananjaya de Silva had been dropped for the first two matches after refusing to bat down the order. 

De Silva took to Twitter to refute the rumours, stating that he always stands with the team. 

"The story circulating in social media saying that I have refused to bat at No. 7 during tomorrow's game is false, and I wish to state that I am a player who always stands with the team," he tweeted. 

Meanwhile, ex-South Africa Under-19 captain Chad Bowes and all-rounder Rachin Ravindra will make their ODI debuts for New Zealand.

Bowes is set to open the batting for the Black Caps at Auckland's Eden Park more than a decade after skippering South Africa's juniors at the 2012 Under-19 World Cup before moving to New Zealand.

Ravindra has already played three Tests and six Twenty20s for New Zealand.

"Both guys have earned their spots through performances in the domestic white-ball arena, so we're really excited about the opportunity," said New Zealand captain Tom Latham.

After whitewashing Sri Lanka 2-0 in the Tests, New Zealand have released several stars including Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Devon Conway to their Indian Premier League teams.

The sides are looking to break their ODI losing streaks -- New Zealand and Sri Lanka both lost all three ODIs on separate tours of India in January. (With agency inputs)


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