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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Our target was to make semis, says SL captain Mathews

Our target was to make semis, says SL captain Mathews

June 21, 2013 13:16 IST

Sri Lanka Skipper Angelo Mathews said losing the toss and explosive batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan's injury were the key factors in the team's eight-wicket loss to India in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final in Cardiff.

The Lankan captain said his team was not ashamed, because ‘reaching the semi-final was the first target for the players’.

Angelo Mathews"...I thought the toss was very crucial. The wicket was seaming, and there was a bit of lateral movement. So, yeah, 182, I mean, you can't really -- against the Indian batting lineup and the wicket got all the easier in the second half, so 182 was never enough on that wicket," he said.

"It was not the mental side of it, but India tends to play well against us, so can't really figure out what's going on," he added.

Mathews felt 181 was an inadequate score against a strong Indian batting line-up.

"We needed at least 250 for a fight, but nothing went in our favour today. The toss proved to be very crucial," the 26-year-old captain said.

Mathews refused to criticise Lasith Malinga for failing to produce anything special on the day.

"His biggest strength is reverse swing but the English weaOur target was to make semis, says SL captain Mathewsther didn't work to his advantage. In the sub-continent, he gets the ball to reverse very well, but the cold weather was a deterrent. But we are not making excuses," Mathews said.

Losing wickets at regular intervals hurt Sri Lanka, said Mathews.

"First of all, Dilshan's injury early in the innings (fourth over) really hit us. He was batting well in seaming conditions. Then we lost wickets and could not rebuild our innings. There was no momentum. India's bowlers did a good job," he said.

Mathews said Sri Lanka were not ashamed of losing another semi-final.

"...definitely disappointed and the whole nation is disappointed. But I'm pretty sure the whole nation and the team is also quite happy that we reached the semi-finals, because it is the best eight teams and we competed against the best. So we got to the final four, but unfortunately, once again, we choked in the semi-finals against India. So, bad luck to the boys," he said.

"Our target was to make the semis which we did. We did it the hard way after losing the first match. It was a good comeback against England and Australia and full credit to the players," he added.

Mathews said his team had prepared well against India.

"We had our chat and we knew they were very strong. We had to play very good cricket and we couldn't do that against India. I really can't figure out why (we play badly against India)," Mathews said.

"I would say there was a bit of help for the bowler, so the credit should go to the Indian bowlers. They bowled extremely well, and they hit the good areas, and it was difficult for us, for the batters to move on," he added.

Asked to pick his favourite for the final between India and England, Mathews said, "Well, that's a bit of a tough. Both teams are quite even. But on that day, whoever makes less mistakes will win the game."

Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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