2017 ICC Champions Trophy: Upul Tharanga Confident Of Giving Best Shot Against South Africa
The stand-in skipper Upul Tharanga in his pre-match press conference has tipped the team would give their best on Saturday in the tournament opener of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval against South Africa-led by AB de Villiers.
“Like I said, we were like — loss to them [South Africa] 5-0, but I think we feel we have a good confidence in tomorrow’s game,” Tharana said during the pre-match conference at the Kennington Oval.
Tharanga, who is Lions Vice-captain, is expected to be leading the side after skipper Angelo Mathews is down with calf injury.
The all-rounder Mathews has been struggling with the leg since January owing to the hamstring injuries as opener Tharanga revealed the decision would be taken before the match will start.
“Yeah, I think he’s having a fitness test like today also, so we are going to look tomorrow morning, as well. So I think final decision, we think by tomorrow morning,” Tharanga said on Mathews.
The 32-year-old opener Tharanga was excited to see fast bowler Lasith Malinga being inducted into the side, who has a knack of picking wickets at the crucial stage before he becomes a potent weapon to rely on in the death overs.
“The main thing is that bowling is also getting more improved with Lasith Malinga coming into the side, his knowledge and experience,” Tharanga asserted.
Tharanga has praised bowl coach Allan Donald, who is the bowling assistant for Sri Lanka and his followed his national team closely, the Balapitiya-born feels former’s experience would come in handy.
“I think [Yes] he has seen the South African team, as well. A lot of knowledge has been passed on and information, especially with the bowlers as well. I think he’s a fantastic bowler and a very experienced player,” Tharanga said on Donald.
Tharanga remarked they would miss Angelo Mathews, who is capable of picking the wickets and scoring runs in the middle-order.
“Especially in South Africa, I think we have been missing like a few players. Like Angelo [Mathews] is not there, and like even if they got a batting lineup,” Tharanga responded on skipper’s question.
Tharanga further expressed his happiness to have some power-hitters in the squad which is further embedded with experienced campaigner like Chamara Kapugedara.
“I think we have mix players, mix some experience players and some young players. Especially if you take [Niroshan] Dickwella, [Kushal] Mendis and Asela [Gunaratne],” Tharanga further said.
When he was asked by a reporter how you are ‘looking’ at the formidable South Africa, which is also topping the ICC’s charts in the ODI rankings, Tharanga termed them complacent.
“I think especially even we didn’t win the games, I think we have a better feeling as we have had improved lots [a lot as side],” Tharanga added.
Straightforward in his response, Tharanga stated he would come as an opener when a reporter asked him for his role in the batting order before adding Niroshan Dickwella would be his batting partner.
Hoping for a high-scoring game after being asked 300-plus mark have had been chased down by the different teams, Tharanga reveals Sri Lanka has a good unit which he is better in both ways whether they are going to bat or bowl first.
“No, that one, didn’t decide yet. Yeah, it depends I think even if we bat first or second, it’s good side, is like really good very batting friendly wickets. So hopefully tomorrow will be like high-scoring game,” Tharanga further concluded.
Being himself as a senior pro in the side, Tharanga made his international debut in 2005, there on, he has featured in 201 One-day Internationals for Sri Lanka in which he scored 5,929 at an average of 33.30 which included 14 hundreds and 31 fifties.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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