Updated: June 21, 2019
Author: Staff Writer

Sri Lanka – 2019 Cricket World Cup Preview

In this article, we will preview the Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup odds, and consider their chances of winning. They are previous World Champions, having won the tournament in 1996, but they are one of the outside bets for glory this year.

We’ll take a closer look at that history while considering the Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup odds, along with weaknesses ahead of the tournament in England and Wales.

How Sri Lanka got to the 2019 Cricket World Cup

Sri Lanka were one of eight teams who qualified automatically for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Ahead of the tournament, the ICC decided that hosts England, along with the next best seven ODI sides would progress to the competition without the need for any qualifying rounds.

Ahead of their March 2019 series with South Africa, Sri Lanka were rated eighth in the ODI rankings and a similar position at the September 2017 cut-off point saw them progress to the World Cup.

Sri Lanka’s odds to win the 2019 Cricket World Cup

If you’re taking a Satta in the outright cricket betting markets, then you’ll find the Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup odds available at best industry odds of 41.00 with Bet365 and Betway. Only Bangladesh and Afghanistan carry longer prices to win the Cricket World Cup, but can this 2019 squad cause an upset?

They’ve done it before with that shock win in 1996, but this Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup side is nowhere near as strong. The format for this year’s World Cup is also against them, but can we give any hope at all to Sri Lankan backers?

Sri Lanka’s history in the World Cup

-1975 to 1983

Although they were not a full test-playing nation in the 1970’s, Sri Lanka have competed in every World Cup since the tournament began back in 1975. Therefore, their World Cup history goes back to the beginning. The West Indies went on to win that inaugural event while the Sri Lankans lost all three of their group matches and headed home before the knockouts.

Sri Lanka qualified again in 1979 after winning the ICC Trophy in the same year and while they failed to make it out of the groups once again, they did win their first Cricket World Cup match. India were the shock victims as the Sri Lankans posted 238/5 before winning by 47 runs.

India would win their first title four years later and by that time, Sri Lanka were a full ICC nation. In an extended 1983 tournament, the Sri Lankan squad won one game from six, but finished bottom of their group.

-1987 to 1999

In 1987, the tournament moved away from England for the first time and the conditions in India and Pakistan might have suited Sri Lanka better. It wasn’t to be, however, and the side were quickly heading home once again – failing to win any of their six group games.

On we go to 1992, and a new format where each of the nine teams played each other once. The Round Robin format did little to change Sri Lanka’s fortunes, however, and the squad won just two of their eight matches.

When we consider those early results, Sri Lanka’s shock World Cup win in 1996 is put into greater context. Admittedly they were one of three co-hosts, but it would have been a brave man who took a Satta on the Sri Lankans before the tournament began.

Safety concerns in Colombo saw both the West Indies and Australia forfeit their games. But Sri Lanka were impressive when they did take to the field. Playing a new brand of attacking, pinch hitting cricket, the side won all five group games to progress straight to the knockouts.

England were waiting in the quarter finals and it was 82 from Sanath Jayasuriya that saw the Sri Lankans chase down a target of 236 with ease. In the semi final, we saw controversy again as a rioting crowd saw Sri Lanka handed the game against India. The side were on the brink of victory anyway, but it was an unsatisfying end to the contest.

That meant a final against 1987 champions Australia, who went into the game as favourites. The Aussies made 241/7 from their fifty overs and this time, it was Aravinda de Silva who guided his team home. De Silva made 107 as Sri Lanka chased down the target inside the 47th over.

The cricket world started to take Sri Lankan cricket seriously from this point. But the following tournament in 1999 was a disappointing one. Playing in Group A, the team could only beat Zimbabwe and Kenya as they crashed out of the groups.

-2003 to 2015

The 2003 tournament in South Africa and Zimbabwe started in a far more positive fashion as Sri Lanka topped their group. Four wins and a tie from their section saw them progress into a new format known as the Super Sixes. From there, the Sri Lankans made it to the semi finals for the second time in their history. However, they lost out to Australia via the Duckworth Lewis method.

The Sri Lankan squad of 2007 started in similar fashion, topping their group with a 100% record of three wins from three. By now, the Super Sixes had become Super Eights and that impressive run continued with a second placed finish. New Zealand were the semi final opponents this time. A century from Mahela Jayawardene set up a big, 81 run win.

The final itself was a repeat of the 1996 game, but sadly for Sri Lankan fans, there was to be a different outcome this time. Adam Gilchrist was the star for the Aussies as they got revenge, winning by 53 runs on Duckworth Lewis.

2011 saw Sri Lanka listed as co-hosts once again and they progressed from Group A in second place behind Pakistan. In the knockouts, successful run chases against England and New Zealand saw them progress to their third final. This time, India were the opponents and a calm run chase saw MS Dhoni’s men home as Sri Lanka fell at the final hurdle once more.

The 2015 World Cup brings us up to date. Once again, Sri Lanka made it out of the groups without too many alarms. The knockouts were a step too far this time, however, as South Africa cruised to a nine wicket win in the quarter finals.

Sri Lanka’s best player heading into the 2019 World Cup

The Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup squad have a number of dangerous players. But the man that we’ve identified as their key man is likely to be playing in his last tournament. Providing he stays clear of injury, Lasith Malinga will head up the squad and the bowling unit and he will have a key role to play.

Known as one of the greatest death bowlers of all time, ‘Malinga the slinger’ has also been the highest wicket taker in the history of the Indian Premier League. At One Day International level, the seamer has played 214 games at the time of writing and taken 318 wickets. He has a best of 6/38 and his averages and economy rates are up there with the best. He’s 35 now, but if Sri Lanka are to enjoy any success in England in 2019 then Lasith Malinga will need to be one of the top players at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Sri Lanka’s 2019 Cricket World Cup schedule

Here is a list of the Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup confirmed fixtures for the group stages of the 2019 World Cup, along with the set dates for the final should they make it that far into the 2019 Cricket World Cup schedule.

Date Venue Opponents
June 1st Cardiff New Zealand
June 4th Cardiff Afghanistan
June 7th Bristol Pakistan
June 11th Bristol Bangladesh
June 15th The Oval Australia
June21st Headingley England
June 28th Durham South Africa
July 1st Durham West Indies
July 6th Headingley India
July 9th Old Trafford Semi Final One
July 11th Edgbaston Semi Final Two
July 14th Lord’s Final

Sri Lanka’s biggest question mark heading into the World Cup

Much of Sri Lanka’s success since 1996 has been down to them possessing some of the best batsmen in World Cricket. It all started with Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva. Their work was then carried on by Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara.

Since their respective retirements, Sri Lankan cricket has struggled in all three formats and the batting is the weak link in 2019. There are some promising, talented and dangerous hitters in the current squad. But sadly, they are not in the same class as those that have gone before.

Sri Lanka’s biggest area of strength heading into the World Cup

In all honesty, this isn’t a great Sri Lankan side and that’s reflected by their ODI ranking of 8. However, the bowling attack carries some threat even if it does rely heavily on a 35 year old Lasith Malinga. Suranga Lakmal is the type of seamer who could thrive if the English conditions are in his favour. While the 2019 squad has no mystery spinner in the class of Muttiah Muralitharan, the battery of slow men are more than capable of upsetting the bigger teams.

With Malinga as the spearhead, the Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup chances rest on their bowlers. They represent the side’s best chance of going deep into the tournament.