Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara celebrates breaking the record for most ODI dismissals by a wicketkeeper, Wellington 2015.

Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara celebrates breaking the record for most ODI dismissals by a wicketkeeper, Wellington 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sri Lanka have never been rated as favourites at World Cups by virtue of their mercurial nature, though it's that very characteristic which may make them a threat against any side.

The island nation have caused many upsets in their time, beating pre-tournament favourites and even taking the title back in 1996.

Sri Lanka made it to back-to-back World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011, where they were beaten on both occasions, finishing as runners-up.

No doubt they are desperate to break the jinx in this year's tournament and regain the title they won in the 1990s.

This time round, while not favourites, they are genuine contenders.

They're ranked fourth in the world and have two batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan, in the top five ODI batsmen rankings.

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara. Photo: Photosport

They have one bowler in the top ten ODI rankings, the slow left- armer Rangana Herath.

It would be a major surprise if they didn't reach the quarterfinals of this year's World Cup.

They have two genuine superstars of the game in veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who have been the backbone of the Sri Lankan team for well over a decade and have already announced their post-World Cup retirement plans.

Both players are in good form, having performed well in the recent seven match one-day series against New Zealand, who are the co-hosts with Australia for the World Cup.

Sri Lanka lost the series to the Black Caps 4-2 but Jayawardene and Sangakkara scored 274 and 313 runs respectively, with each recording a century in a tough campaign.

Sangakkara broke the world record for the most dismissals by a wicket-keeper in Wellington in the seventh and final match of the series.
The 37-year-old passed Australia's Adam Gilchrist as the most successful wicket-keeper with the dismissal of Corey Anderson.
The former Sri Lanka captain took his career tally to 473 dismissals.
Sangakkara, who also scored his 21st one-day century in the match, has taken 377 catches and 96 stumpings in the 50-over format as a wicket-keeper.

Another veteran campaigner in the ranks is 38-year-old Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is also keen to sign off on a high.

Dilshan eased to his 19th one-day century to anchor his side to a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the second ODI in Hamilton.
Dilshan scored 116 from 127 balls in the tourists' victory.

Star fast bowler Lasith 'The Slinger' Malinga, who underwent surgery on a troubled left ankle in September, is under a fitness cloud and missed Sri Lanka's one-dayers against New Zealand.

Malinga has 271 career wickets at an average of 27 and at his World Cup debut in the 2007 he took 18 wickets from eight matches to finish the tournament as the fifth-leading wicket taker.

If he doesn't play during the tournament, Sri Lanka's chances of winning will drop significantly.

They are in pool A with England, co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland.

Their first match is against New Zealand, the opening game of the tournament, in Christchurch on February the 14th.

Key players: Wicket-keeper and batsman Kumar Sangakkara, fast bowler Lasith Malinga, batsman Mahela Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (wicket-keeper), Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga (subject to fitness), Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake.

February 14th: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
February 22nd: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, University Oval, Dunedin.
February 26th: Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne.
March 1st: Sri Lanka vs England, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington.
March 8th: Sri Lanka vs Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney.
March 11th: Sri Lanka v Scotland, Bellerive Oval, Hobart.