Cricket World Cup Team Preview: Sri Lanka a decent price for success

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Number of previous appearances: 11

Last appearance: 2011

Best finish: Winners (1996)

2014 ODI record: Played 32, Won 20, Lost 12

Pool: A

First 3 fixtures: New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh 

Coach: Marvan Atapattu

Squad: Angelo Matthews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Dimuth Karunaratne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal Lasith Malinga, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Kumar Sangakkara,Sachithra Senanayake, Lahiru Thirimanne  

Top runscorer: Kumar Sangakkara

Not just a wizard with the gloves behind the wicket, Kumar Sangakkara is also capable of competing with the likes of old-hands Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan in the runscoring stakes.

The 37-year-old has shown some great form with the bat in ODIs warming up for the tournament, bagging half-centuries in six of his last nine innings in the 50-over format.

Likely to come in at number three, expect boundaries aplenty when he comes in to bat.

He certainly gave the joint-hosts plenty to think about recently…

Top wicket taker: Sachithra Senanayake

With the devastating Lasith Malinga touch-and-go as to whether he will be fit, the Tigers could rely more on their spinners Down Under, and this man certainly boasts plenty of intrigue.

Recently back from a ban when his action was deemed illegal, Senanayake has wasted no time in getting back on track, taking nine wickets in six matches. Not a world-beating return granted, but the mystery about his delivery can leave any batsman in trouble.

And following Jos Butler’s controversial dismissal, tempers could flare when they meet England on March 1.

Magic man: Angelo Matthews

More than capable with both the ball and the bat, Sri Lanka’s captain marvel has his army in just the right form to go a long way in this tournament.

He averaged 39.2 at the crease in the Asia Cup, and knocked 30 runs on average during the nation’s series against England, picking up three wickets in the process.

An excellent all-rounder, he will certainly be leading by example.

Pre-tournament storyline:

It was a 2014 to remember for Sri Lanka, not only taking the T20 World Cup and Asian Cup titles but enjoying series wins against England, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

A warm-up series against joint-hosts New Zealand has yielded mixed results, but with a good mix of young and old in sparkling form, they could be a value bet for success.

Tournament odds: 7/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

Can Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Dilshan and co go on to lift the trophy? Back them using your free £25 bet and pick up £175 if they go all the way!

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.