T20 World Cup 2022: “I want to become the Man of the Series”

Bhanuka Rajapaksa, mid-level slugger from Sri Lanka, has underscored his desire to be the player of the tournament at the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia. The southpaw is also confident that Sri Lanka’s preparations will go into the competition.

Rajapaksa put in a special performance with the racquet in the 2022 Asian Cup final against Pakistan and dictated Sri Lanka’s 23-run victory. He hit a 45-ball 71 that took his side from 58-5 to 170-6. His exploits with the racquet earned him the Player of the Match award as Sri Lanka won their sixth title.

Ahead of Sri Lanka’s opening match against Namibia on Sunday (October 16), the 30-year-old said, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo:

“For me, I’m preparing how I want to be the man of the series at this World Cup. It’s all going to come with the hard work that we’ve put in. Hopefully I can do that.”

The Asian Cup champions need to secure the top two spots in the preliminary round to advance to the Super 12 stage. As the islanders are below sixth place in the ICC T20I rankings as of November 15, 2021, they must meet the requirements. The other teams in this round are Namibia, Scotland, West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.

“When we come to a big tournament like this, we have to be prepared” – Bhanuka Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka celebrates winning the 2022 Asia Cup. (Credit: Getty)
Sri Lanka celebrates winning the 2022 Asia Cup. (Credit: Getty)

While Rajapaksa admitted Sri Lanka hadn’t played much cricket before the tournament, he felt the players needed calm and confidence in their preparation. The left-hander added:

“I think there was so much cricket with us before the Asia Cup and the lads needed a break too. When we come to a big tournament like this we have to be prepared. So of course we would have missed the opportunity to play international cricket.

“But sometimes that happens with coordination between the cricket boards. But we’re quite happy with our preparation and it’s only a matter of time before we get the first ball against Namibia.”

The 2014 champions were eliminated from the group stage last year but should be confident of progressing far in the tournament based on their recent performances.

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