In a disappointing turn of events for Sri Lanka, skipper Kusal Mendis’ batting woes persisted during the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, posing a significant challenge to his team’s performance. Mendis, who took on the captaincy after Dasun Shanaka’s injury, faced another setback, scoring a mere 6 runs against New Zealand at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday, November 9.
Mendis began the World Cup on a high note, showcasing remarkable form with a spectacular half-century against South Africa at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. His impressive innings of 76 runs off 42 balls, featuring eight boundaries and four sixes, hinted at a promising start for the 1996 champions, despite their loss in the match.
The Sri Lankan captain continued his stellar performance in the following game, registering his maiden ODI World Cup century against Pakistan in Hyderabad. Mendis’ brilliant knock of 122 runs off 77 balls, including 14 boundaries and six maximums, displayed his prowess against Pakistan’s formidable pace attack.
However, Mendis’ fortunes took a sharp downturn after he assumed the captaincy from the injured Shanaka. Struggling to find his rhythm, Mendis managed a mere 96 runs in the subsequent seven innings, with a highest score of 39 runs against Afghanistan. His dip in form directly impacted Sri Lanka’s overall performance in the tournament.
With Mendis unable to deliver consistent performances, Sri Lanka faced significant challenges, managing to secure victories in only two out of their first eight matches in the 2023 World Cup. As a result, their hopes for a spot in the semi-finals have been dashed, highlighting the critical role of a captain’s form in shaping a team’s destiny on the international cricket stage.