ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Sri Lanka SWAT – Young brigade on a missionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/icc-champions-trophy-2017-sri-lanka-swat-young-brigade-on-a-mission/

ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Sri Lanka SWAT – Young brigade on a mission

Sri Lanka have a mix of youth and experience which can take them deep into the tournament but can also hurt them.

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Angelo Mathews will lead Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy.

Led by Angelo Matthews, the young brigade of Sri Lanka, despite going through a transitional phase, will be competing alongside the heavyweights of world cricket in Group B- India, South Africa, and Pakistan. They can be considered as potential dark horses and they can play with a nothing-to-lose attitude and see whether they can become the giant killers of the group.

Strength: With Lasith Malinga coming back in the squad it will be a massive boost for the island nation. Surely, this will be the biggest positive for the inexperienced side as Malinga also brings in tons of experience. Added to that Malinga has the experience of captaincy. While Malinga has not played an ODI since November 2015, he made a return to international T20s against Australia in February, after a year-long layoff. Hence, he will be fresh and raring to go. With a bowling average of 27.77 and a strike rate of 31.64, he will the one to watch out for. His experience will also be a key during the high-pressure games.

Weakness: While the young Sri Lankan side may play with a nothing-to-lose attitude. This may also go against them.The likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne,Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna are all set to play their first Champions Trophy tournament. Hence, chances of succumbing to the pressure remain high. Furthermore, the batting, which looks vulnerable, could be exposed against a quality bowling attack in English conditions.

X-Factor: In English conditions pace is expected to play a key role. It is here that Sri Lanka will have the edge as they have some of the genuine swing bowlers in their ranks. Nuwan Kulasekara has thrived in conditions suitable for the swing. Over the years, he has been effective with his nagging line and length, and ability to swing the ball both ways. Despite lacking express pace, Kulasekara made the most of his ability to swing the new ball and if he manages to do that Sri Lanka will be in with a definite chance. Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, and Nuwan Pradeep are the seam options in the squad. If they can get the ball to move and strike early, then Sri Lanka might just go the distance.