Even though the least glamours batsman in Sri Lanka’s current generation, Dimuth Karunaratne, both as a player and captain possess two of the most important ingredients to succeed at international level: determination to do well as a batsman and allow players to play with the freedom. His ODI captaincy debut against Scotland yesterday proved once again that Dimuth has some kind of ‘midas touch’ in his leadership.
Going into second match against Scotland, Sri Lanka were a side, which had not won a ODI match since October 2018. They’ve had eight straight defeats and one match abandoned since then, before yesterday’s victory.
Under Karunaratne’s charge, Sri Lanka snapped an eight-match ODI losing streak ahead of the World Cup with a 35-run win over Scotland in a rain-affected match in Edinburgh. And, it was a well deserving victory. The Scots may not have qualified for the World Cup 2019, but last year beat tournament hosts and favourites England.
In his first ODI is captain, Karunaratne was innovative in his field placings, sharp in his bowling changes and shuffled his batting line up according to situation. Also, with the cool and calm approach and guidance of Karunaratne, young players like Kusal Mendis and Avishka Fernando prospered with sparkling half centuries,
More importantly, as a batsman, Karunaratne top-scored with 77 in a total of 322 for eight, just his second fifty at this level and first since he reached the landmark against Scotland on the same ground back in 2011.
Indeed, the victory against Scotland will not serve Sri Lanka any purpose, before the mega event. However, under Karunaratne’s captaincy, Sri Lanka have at least given a glimpse of hope!