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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Sri Lanka now eyeing semis slot after England scalp

Sri Lanka now eyeing semis slot after England scalp

Source: PTI
October 26, 2023 21:48 IST
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'We have another four games left; I think if we can string more performances together we have a chance of making the semi-finals.'

Angelo Mathews celebrates with his Sri Lanka teammates after dismissing England opener Dawid Malan during the ICC World Cup match in Bengaluru on Thursday.

IMAGE: Angelo Mathews celebrates with his Sri Lanka teammates after dismissing England opener Dawid Malan during the ICC World Cup match in Bengaluru on Thursday. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Emboldened by their convincing win over reigning champions England, Sri Lanka skipper Kusal Mendis expressed confidence that his team will do well in the remainder of the league stage of the World Cup and sneak into the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka defeated England by eight wickets in Bengaluru on Thursday after bowling out the Three Lions out for a modest 156.

 

It was a clinical performance that saw the Islanders register their second win in five matches.

"The net run-rate going up is great for us. We did really well in the first few overs and then just continued. Everyone did really well today. We have another four games left; I think if we can string more performances together we have a chance of making the semi-finals," said Mendis at the presentation ceremony.

Lahiru Kumara and comeback man Angelo Mathews, who shared five wickets between themselves, shone with the ball for the 1996 champions.

"He (Lahiru Kumara) knows his role; he's our main fast bowling weapon and he bowled really well to control the game today.

"He (Angelo Mathews) has so much experience; he helps so much in the middle overs. He can bat and bowl, and he also enjoys the game. He also knows how to handle pressure situations, so it's good having him around. The fielding was also excellent today, we need to do the same thing over the next couple of matches," added Mendis.

Jos Buttler, whose side is struggling at ninth place in the 10-team standings, admitted that it is an "incredibly disappointing" tournament for them.

"It's been an incredibly tough and incredibly disappointing tournament. Disappointed in myself and all the boys that we haven't shown a good account of ourselves. There's no clear answer at the moment," the England skipper said.

"Can't really fault the boys' efforts, but we're playing a long way short of our best. It starts from the front. As captain, you want to lead from the front and play well and I've been a long way short of my best," Buttler added.

Buttler had no qualms in admitting that he has failed to lead from the front, but the others around him also flopped in the showpiece.

"There are a lot of experienced cricketers in the room who've been through a lot - confident people. You don't become a bad player overnight, you don't become a bad team over night," he said.

"I think that's probably the biggest frustration, that we've been so far short of our best, and for no obvious reason. Just can't put my finger on it at the moment."

Asked if there was uncertainty over strategy, Buttler replied: "Selection is something you want to be consistent, build that trust. But selection isn't a problem at the moment, performance is. Whoever has been on the field so far has been short of the standards we set ourselves.

"The kind of mistakes we're all making, you don't see that usually. We haven't been doing the basic things well."

Facing elimination, he said they want to "give a good account of ourselves going forward" in the remainder of the tournament.

Player-of-the-match Kumara (3/35 in 7 overs) said he didn't do anything different after a bad day against Australia.

"I didn't do much different from the Australia game; that was an off-day. I just worked hard and it worked out today.

"As for Angelo, he has a lot of experience; he helped me a lot at mid-off. It was really great to have him back. The plan was to hit the middle overs with discipline, we stuck to the plan and were rewarded with wickets," said Kumara.

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