An inexperienced bowling attack’s failure to execute plans cost Sri Lanka the World Cup match against Pakistan despite posting 344 on the board, off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana. Sri Lanka rode on centuries from Kusal Mendis (122) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (108) to score 344 for nine, a target which Pakistan chased down with six wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare on Tuesday. And Theekshana feels that Sri Lanka failed to produce a complete performance and were 20 runs short.
“We lost more than 20 runs because we had a chance to go for the 370 or 380. And even in the bowling we made a lot of mistakes and we didn’t execute our plans. Even in the field, actually today, all three departments we didn’t do well. So that’s why we lost.
“I think because the experience that we got over the fast bowlers, even the spinners that we have, they don’t have much experience. Even they didn’t play any games all over India,” he said at the post-match press conference “Me and Wanindu (Hasaranga) are the only players, who have played all over India. I haven’t played in Hyderabad. So, I think they have to get more experience and play more games. Even for the fast bowlers, the smaller boundaries that they had in Delhi, it’s really hard to bowl. So, yeah, they have to execute plans. I think they will do that in the next games.”
Sri Lanka were cruising at 283 for four in the 40th over but the last 10 overs yielded just 61 runs for the loss of five wickets.
And Theekshana said it was the turning point of the match.
“Actually, the wicket was a little bit slow in the last 10 overs. They bowled a lot of slower balls and we didn’t execute our plans really well. We lost a lot of wickets in the last 10 overs,” he said.
“I think the turning point was the last 10 overs and the middle overs during our bowling innings.” Theekshana said there is no room for error for a bowler on Indian pitches.
“Indeed, we’ve traditionally been a team that wins through our bowling strength. However, playing here is significantly different from playing in Sri Lanka. The wickets here are less forgiving, a slight mis-step in line and length from a bowler can easily lead to a boundary.
“The other noticeable difference is the high-scoring nature of games here; the team batting second can chase down big totals. I believe if we had scored at least 370 runs today, the outcome might have been different,” he said.
Theekshana was full of praise for Mendis and Samarawickrama for their exploits with the bat.
“If you look at Kusal’s recent performances, he has been playing aggressively and adapting well to these wickets. I’m not discrediting their talent, but these wickets do make scoring easier. We haven’t seen this level of performance from our players back in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“When Kusal and Sadeera played well today, we were on track with a run rate of around eight, accumulating 280-260 runs in just 30 overs. Unfortunately, we lost momentum when Kusal got out, and we kept losing wickets, which impacted the game significantly.”
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