Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Young SL ready for dangerous Pak, says Angelo Mathews
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Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Young SL ready for dangerous Pak, says Angelo Mathews

A day before the virtual ICC Champions Trophy quarterfinal against Pakistan cricket team in Cardiff, Sri Lanka cricket team skipper Angelo Mathews said the team isn’t thinking too far ahead.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 11, 2017 23:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Cardiff
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,Pakistan vs Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka cricket team players seemed a relaxed bunch during training on Sunday, on the eve of their crucial ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan Cricket team in Cardiff.(REUTERS)

With a shock victory over Indian cricket team, the Sri Lankan cricket team players have given themselves a chance to enter the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. However, a resurgent Pakistan cricket team stand in their way.

A day before the virtual quarterfinal against Pakistan in Cardiff, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews said the team isn’t thinking too far ahead.

“We are not trying to get too far ahead. We just want to take one game at a time. We’re not thinking about the semifinal just yet. We’ve got to play really good cricket to beat Pakistan, and we all know that they are a very dangerous team,” said Mathews.

The Islanders will, however, be without Kusal Perera, who saw them through with a vital knock of 47 before retiring following an injury. Mathews admitted that it would be a loss for the team as Kusal is the type of batsman who would perform anywhere in the batting order.

“It is unfortunate to lose Kusal as he can bat anywhere in the batting order, he gives that option. We have been left with only seven batters, so we had to call up Dhananjaya de Silva,” said the Sri Lankan skipper.

After poor outings in recent times, the young Sri Lankans managed to pull off a morale-boosting win against their fancied neighbours.

“We were concentrating on getting better. We have young set of players, who are unfamiliar with international level. But skill is there,” he said.

Following the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Mathews has been left with an inexperienced bunch.

“It is easy to captain a side when Sanga and Mahela are there. When they retired, it created a vacuum. You have to give confidence to youngsters, you have to deal with the pressure which is there. And you have to stick with them. We have great talent in the dressing room. We have to stay positive and give them a long run,” he said.

Hafeez defends dot balls

Sri Lanka’s opponents Pakistan, however, feel the tag of being an ‘unpredictable’ team is serving them well.

All-rounder Mohammed Hafeez said, “To be honest, I’m always a fan of that tag of unpredictable team. As a team, we’re always very aggressive. Yes, we had some off-days like the first game when we all tried our level best but things didn’t work for us. In the next game, it was a complete team effort. As a team, we are always like that, and I love that tag,” he said.

Hafeez was asked about Pakistan playing too many dot balls. “We have to bat as per match situation. Besides, different teams have different ways to approach a target of 300. It is not that you have to score 300 always. The intent has to be positive,” he said.

First Published: Jun 11, 2017 23:02 IST