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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Mathews expects more from his players before Asia Cup final

Mathews expects more from his players before Asia Cup final

March 01, 2014 13:13 IST

'Today it could have been a bit easier than what it was'

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Sri Lanka have gone a step close to the Asia Cup final after their second win in as many  matches, after beating India on Friday but skipper Angelo Mathews expects a more improved performance from his teammates.

 - Scorecard

Match report

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"We have been winning those close games… once again it was a nervous game. We have been doing those little things right. We have got to play better cricket to win against stronger teams," said Mathews after his team posted a thrilling two-wicket victory over India, in Fatullah.

"Today it could have been a bit easier than what it was. The middle order collapsed and made it hard for the lower order to finish," he added.

Chasing 265 for win after opting to bowl first, Sri Lanka rode on experienced Kumar Sangakkara's (84-ball 103) masterclass innings after a middle-order batting collapse, to complete the task with four balls to spare.

"He's a true champion. He has done it so many times for us in the past. It's a treat to watch him bat. It's one of the best innings that I've seen in the recent past," said Mathews.


Image: Kumar Sangakkara hits a six off Mohammad Shami
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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'We still need to play some really good cricket before the final'

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On the move to play an extra spinner in Ajantha Mendis, he said: "We were geared up for both. We wanted to chase anyway because of the dew factor. We felt that the wicket was very slow, so thought of Mendis instead of Suranga Lakmal."

When asked about his decision at the toss, Mathews said, "India would have bowled first as well. It turned quite a bit when Jadeja and Ashwin were bowling. Our batters had to work hard. We had the batting depth to be up for the challenge.

"We still have two more games to play. We saw how Afghanistan played against Pakistan. We cannot take them lightly. We still need to play some really good cricket before the final," said Mathews.


Image: Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera congratulates Kumar Sangakkara (right) as he scores a century against India in their Asia Cup match in Fatullah
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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'We are not really bothered about who our opponents will be in the final'

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Now, with one foot in the final, Mathews said he is not thinking much about the opponent: "It does not really matter as long as we play good cricket. All teams are equally balanced. We are not really bothered. We just want to take one game at a time."

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's absence might be hurting India, but Mathews pointed out that even they missed the services of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Nuwan Kulasekara.

"We don't have Dilshan, Kulasekara. Indians did miss Dhoni, but one individual can't make a massive difference. It's about collective effort in a team game." 


Image: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images)

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