We need to dominate from ball one against Bangladesh: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews believes that the match against Bangladesh on Thursday will be a pressure match. Despite the island nation having a superior record over their Asian counterparts, Mathews warned that Sri Lanka should not take Bangladesh lightly.
He said, “This will be a pressure match for all of us. It will certainly be a tough game. Bangladesh have performed well in the recent past. They have a good set of players and we have to take all their batsmen and bowlers seriously.
“Whoever plays the best cricket will win and we hope we can play our best cricket tomorrow.”
Mathews’ team has won 32 out of 37 ODI matches against their World Cup opponents while getting the better of the Tigers on both occasions they have faced each other in World Cups.
“We must improve our standards”
Sri Lanka, however, trail Bangladesh in the points table by 1 point as Bangladesh won their opening encounter against Afghanistan while their match against Australia was washed out to help them amass 3 points from their two fixtures. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, lost to New Zealand in their tournament opener, but beat Afghanistan to stand at 2 points from their two matches.
“The game against Afghanistan was a close one, we need to improve our standards,” Mathews warned.
“What we need to learn is to dominate from ball one and stay in the game till the end.
"We have not played our best cricket yet. If we play the way we can, we can beat any team in the world. We have got to step up and set our goals high. Play every game as a final or a semi-final. The batters have to score runs and the bowlers have to take wickets.
“With the resources that we have, we've got to win games and the last game was a close one, but a win is a win. We'll take that win. But I think we need to improve our standards to go further in this tournament.”
“If we click as a group, we can do wonders”
Mathews said that the performance of their neighbours, India, who struggled before the start of the World Cup but are now playing like Champions, will serve as an inspiration.
“As far as we're concerned, we've been to England and beaten them as well. So we've got the capacity and skill to do it. It's just we need to try to execute our plans properly.
“Yeah, definitely, India have played really well in the past two games and we saw them struggling early on in the season or in the summer. But if you click as a group, I think we can do wonders. It's just we need to click as a group and try to win games.
“I think my team is unique. We don't want to follow any team in this tournament. We'll just take the positives that the other teams have. But I think it's just that we know what we can do.
“We know the strategies that we should approach. That we should take to the field. So we'll look to do our thing rather than emulate some other team,” Mathews said.
Sri Lanka’s bowling has been indisciplined in the match against Afghanistan, giving away 16 wides and a no-ball, while the form of Lasith Malinga should be a concern for the 1996 World Cup winners. But, Mathews believes that his main strike bowler will be at his peak soon.
“Lasith is working extremely hard at the nets," he said. "One has to be at the peak when the quarter finals come and he and the others are working towards that.”
“Unfortunately, Jeevan is out for two to three weeks. Upul is expected to arrive tonight but we have yet to decide if we will play him or not against Bangladesh,” Mathews concluded.