We have got just one lifeline – Mathews

Sri Lanka’s cricket team captain Angelo Mathews leaves the field after being dismissed by Bangladesh cricketer Rubel Hossain during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at The Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on September 15, 2018. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

a were shot out for their lowest total ever against Bangladesh. It was Sri Lanka’s second heaviest defeat against this opposition.

Due to their poor Net Run Rate, Sri Lanka need to not only win today’s (Monday) clash against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi but hope that Bangladesh beat the Afghans in the last group game to qualify for the second round. Or, in order to be absolutely certain of qualifying without leaving it for others, Sri Lanka need to beat Afghanistan by a big margin.

“We are definitely under pressure. We have got one life-line. It is a do or die game for us,” captain Angelo Mathews told journalists after the Bangladesh loss.

score in sri lankan newsThe defending champions started off the campaign well with Lasith Malinga making a return to the side claiming two wickets in two balls in the first over of the innings. Then Tamim Iqbal was forced to retire with injury and there was an opportunity to knock Bangladesh out of the game, but both Mushfiqur Rahim (144) and Mohammad Mithun (63) were dropped early in their innings.

Mithun was on one when Angelo Mathews failed to hold onto a chance at mid-on and Dilruwan Perera at short leg missed a sitter at square leg with Mushfiqur on ten. The former Banlgadeshi captatin was dropped again by Dhananjaya de Silva off his own bowling when he was on 85 and he went onto post a career best 144, the second highest individual score by a Banlgadeshi in ODI cricket.

“Batting was the downfall today. Lasith was brilliant tonight. We took three early wickets and then let them off the hook by dropping some crucial catches. Despite the drawbacks, I thought 260 was a chaseable target on a very good wicket. We made too many bad decisions while batting.”

Batting has been Sri Lanka’s weaklink and in that sense it was surprising to see them go with just five specialist batsmen.

“We had to change our combination looking back at South Africa series. After Danushka and Chandimal injuries we had to change a few things. We went one batsman short as Dilruwan Perera can also bat. But bulk of the batting has to be done by the top order and we let the team down. Unfortunately we made a few bad decisions while batting.”

Apart from the three dropped catches, Sri Lanka’s fielding overall was well below par. It has been that for quite some time now. “It is just the we are not consistent. We have one brilliant day and one extremely poor day. That cannot happen in a tournament. If you lose one game you are under lot of pressure. We had them three for three and then with the next two batsmen having scored less than ten runs we dropped them. They really cashed in. But as I keep saying, 260 we take any day and the batters let us down.”

A side filled with half a dozen slow movers on the field was asking for trouble when they opted to bring in Dilruwan Perera, one of the slowest movers around, as replacement for Akila Dananjaya.

“We knew that there were a couple of guys whom we had to be aware of. We knew when we made that decision to bring in Dilruwan. We went in for some experience and when you are trying to balance the side you need both experience and youth. It didn’t go our way.”

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