Spunky Sri Lanka out to prove heydays are not behind them

This is also a make-or-break tournament for Shanaka's captaincy

World Cup pedigree: Champions in 1996, semi-finalists in 2003, finalists in 2007 and 2011 - Sri Lanka went through a fantastic stretch in World Cups for these 15 years, but are their best days past them? In 2015, they crashed out in the first knockout (quarter-final), and in 2019, they missed out on the semi-final. They are again expected to be a middling side in 2023.
Recent form: Yes, there was that catastrophic collapse in the Asia Cup final, but they had, nevertheless, played some decent cricket to get there, beating Bangladesh twice, and overcoming Pakistan in a thriller.
Largely, their recent successes are built on their attack. Matheesha Pathirana's middle and death-overs bowling has been a vital new addition to the side. In Dilshan Madushanka, they have a left-armer who can swing the new ball at pace.
The only side to have defeated them in their last 15 ODI outings are India, but this is less impressive than it sounds. Sri Lanka had to play the Qualifier to get into this World Cup, and many of their recent oppositions are weaker sides who did not make this World Cup.
Squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Kusal Mendis (vice-capt), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera (wk), Dimuth Karunaratne, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara
Key player: Captain Dasun Shanaka has had about as miserable a run of form with the bat as any player coming into the World Cup. Since the start of the Qualifier, he averages 6.60 with a strike rate of 57.39. This is in his role as a lower-middle order finisher. With Wanindu Hasaranga ruled out of the tournament with injury, Sri Lanka desperately need Shanaka to begin playing big innings, even as he contributes with the ball, in order to give their XI some semblance of balance. Shanaka has never been much of an ODI batter, but he has played some excellent innings in India. This is a make-or-break tournament for his captaincy.
Rising star: Since 2021, no batter has made as many runs at No. 5 as Charith Asalanka - an especially impressive stat when you consider the now 26-year-old only made his debut halfway through that year. Capable of finding boundaries early in his innings (especially through the leg side), adept at picking gaps, and blessed with a calm disposition, Asalanka having a good World Cup will go a long way to Sri Lanka putting up decent scores. On the drier tracks, his offbreaks could also be handy.
World Cup farewells: It seems unlikely that Kusal Perera (33), and Dimuth Karunaratne (35), will still be around for the 2027 tournament - the former largely because his injuries have piled up terribly. Otherwise, the remainder of the squad are in their early thirties or younger. They would still have to be performing in four years, of course.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf