Wednesday, 04 August 2021
We played really poor cricket - Mathews

We played really poor cricket - Mathews

A stunning 23-run defeat against Bangladesh leaves Sri Lanka with the tough task of beating both India and Pakistan to make it to the final. After the defeat, where Sri Lanka failed to chase down 148, stand-in skipper Angelo Mathews was offering no excuses. He put the blame squarely on his team for not playing the right shots at the right times.

"The run-rate kept creeping up. Once it hit the 10-12-run mark, we couldn't really hit the ball to the boundary. So that was a reason for the collapse. Also the shot selection was not really up to the mark. Especially after the start we had got, we could have just milked it through but unfortunately we kept taking those wrong options." It was a reason he would go on to repeat multiple times in the press conference following the game, on Sunday (February 29).

"It's just the way we played. We played really poor cricket," he said.

For Mathews, the task of defeating of Bangladesh was made harder by the absence of key bowler Lasith Malinga due to a niggle. Malinga was returning from injury after three months when he played the previous game against UAE. After the game, he was visibly uncomfortable and stressed that it took a mighty toll on his body. Mathews was unsure if Malinga would take any further part in this series, further compounding their woes.

"On Lasith, can't really say... It's a fitness issue. He is struggling with a niggle and that's why he didn't play. The management thought it was wise for him to rest today but don't really know about the future games.

"Don't really know if we will have him for the next couple of games or the next game but it is what it is. We have got only what he have. You have to use only those resources in the game," he said.

One of the recurring themes in the Asia Cup has been the spotlight on the pitches found in Dhaka. MS Dhoni has been critical of the conditions here and felt that it wasn't ideal preparation for the ICC World Twenty20. The pitch used for the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka game was a lot less greener and Mathews felt that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it for this game.

"The wicket was a really good one. When you compare the last four games to this one, the wicket was really good. There were no demons in the wicket. It was hanging a little bit for the seamers, the cutters were hanging a bit but it was a brilliant wicket. There was nothing wrong with the wicket," he said.

With Sri Lanka boasting of batsmen all through their line-up, chasing a target of 148 shouldn't have been a difficult one, felt Mathews and stressed that it was just down to poor shot-making in crunch situations.

"We had a really tall batting order. Up to (Nuwan) Kulasekara. Kulasekara batted at No. 9. That says it all. We had Thisara Perera, Dasun Sanaka, Chamura Kapugedera who could clear the boundary easily. It was just that we let the run-rate creep up in the middle period especially after the 7th over. It started creeping up and by the time we started trying to go for the big shots, we just kept losing wickets."

Mathews himself has been one of the men singled out to lead Sri Lanka through the transition period after the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayaawardene. It is a question that invariably crops up after every loss and the skipper sought to end it.

"Yes, we are in the transition period but we can't keep thinking that 'this is a transition period' and keep losing all the games we play. We all need to step it up. Now we have to do it the hard way."

A brave face was all he could offer before shifting focus onto the games that lie ahead.

"We have to beat India and Pakistan to enter the final. It is going to be a tough goal. But we are up for it. It is going to be a turnaround. We have one rest day and the next day we play India. So we have got to try and change it around, be positive," Mathews concluded.



Last modified on Wednesday, 02 March 2016 13:42