Sri Lanka’s run leading into the ICC World T20 has been simply below par, as the defending champions have looked utterly clueless. Their Asia Cup outing was a disaster as they could only defeat UAE and lost to India, Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh. Ahead of their first game against Afghanistan, skipper Angelo Mathews stated that the seniors would have to step up in order to ensure that Sri Lanka did well.
“They (Chandimal and Thirimanne) are two very good players and they read the game and situations very well,” Mathews said. “Chandimal, we saw in the last match and all through the Asia Cup – he has been batting really well. And Thirimanne has so far batted the best in India – he has batted the best out of the lot. Those two are very talented players so we bank on them. We trust them. As seniors they will take on the challenge and hopefully they will deliver,” he said.
Mathews, while speaking about the seniors, also acknowledged the presence of veteran spinner Rangana Herath. “We still want him to be an attacking spinner,” Mathews said. “He’s our main spinner and is very experienced. We want him to take wickets through the middle. If we need him to contain, he can contain as well, because he has the experience of adapting himself when the occasion requires, on certain wicket. That adaptability is in him.”
On Sri Lanka’s clash against Afghanistan, Mathews said, “They are very tough. The last two times that we played it was two close games. They have fought really hard against us and we had to fight to beat them. We can’t really call Afghanistan minnows. They’ve beaten all the teams in their qualifying changes very easily. We don’t take them easily, because they can upset any team on a given day. We have to play really good cricket to beat Afghanistan.”