Angelo Mathews Admits Being The Underdogs Ahead Of The Must Win Game Against India
Sri Lanka’s captain Angelo Mathews has acknowledged the fact that his team will start as an underdog when they take on defending champions India in the must-win clash at the Oval. The Lankans will enter the game after inflicting a heavy 96 runs loss at the hands of South Africa in their tournament opener whereas their next opponents India is coming off fresh from subjecting arch rivals Pakistan to a 124 runs thrashing.
Mathews admits that the game will be a high pressure one for them and India will be a tough team to beat. His understanding is true in every sense. India is at the moment one of the most balanced sides in the competition. Their batting was always a strength and the bowling department also looks sharp.
“As you know, they are a force in world cricket no matter where they play. They’ve played fantastic cricket over the past few years, especially in the last couple of years. They’ve been tremendous in all conditions. It’s very hard to beat them unless we are on top of our game. We will all have to pull our socks up and give a great performance tomorrow,” Mathews conceded.
“Their batting line-up has always put teams under pressure. This current bowling line-up is quite different. They’re one of the best in the world. They have got a nice balance of spin and pace and they’re all different to each other. That’s a fantastic bowling attack,” said Mathews.
The Sri Lanka also would be outnumbered in terms of crowd support as Indian fans promise to show up at any venue to support their team. The Oval is a neutral venue plays little role in keeping the Indians away from the action. Evidently, the tickets for the game has already been sold out well in advance and Mathews is aware of the backing the Indian team will get.
“The Indians are everywhere and they keep following the team. They are so passionate about the game, and they love their players, and they keep supporting. We don’t have Sri Lankans as much as the Indians in London, but they all come over to witness a great game of cricket.”
Sri Lanka, which is a team in transition at the moment, has been troubled with injuries quite badly. Most recently, middle order batsman Chamara Kapugedera was ruled out of the tournament after hurt his right knee while doing fielding drills on the eve of the game. While it has been announced that Danushka Gunathilaka will replace him after the approval of ICC Event Technical Committee, the experience factors still don’t come into consideration.
Skipper Angelo Mathews has also got sidelined due to fitness and hasn’t played any ODI cricket since August last year and has not played any international cricket since January. He arrived with existing niggles and missed Sri Lanka’s tournament opener against South Africa due to the ankle strain. The all-rounder is yet to attain full fitness and would be unable to bowl during the India fixture.
“It does upset the balance a little bit. If I could bowl my ten overs that’s a huge thing for the team and we have to now come up with some plans to cope with the strong Indian batting line-up.”
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