New Zealand v Sri Lanka, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 30, 2014

No excuses for Sri Lanka - Malinga


A spot in the semi-finals of the World T20 could well be heavily weighted on the toss of a coin when Sri Lanka take on New Zealand for one remaining spot in Group 1, but stand-in captain Lasith Malinga will refuse to use a wet ball and damp outfield as an excuse and believes his side are better prepared after coming unstuck against England.

Sri Lanka could not defend 189 as Alex Hales clubbed an unbeaten 116, the expensive performance of Ajantha Mendis, who conceded 52 off his four overs, proving especially telling and the spinner may pay the price for the crunch game. Malinga was also less effective than is so often the case, going wicketless and at almost eight an over during his four overs.

"When we play night games we must know to use those conditions. We can't give excuses against a wet ball and things like that. That's my feeling as a bowler," he said. "In the bowling sometimes we are on top but in the last few overs against England we didn't do very well."

"Now it's in the past and we are looking forward to the next match. We had a good training session yesterday and today and we know how to adjust to situations like dew and when the ball becomes slippery. We are all prepared."

Malinga, the team's T20 vice-captain since October 2012, said that he was under no extra pressure leading his country for the first time even though so much was at stake. He has been forced into this position after Dinesh Chandimal was suspended for one match for his team being penalised twice for slow over rate within a 12-month period.

"It's a good feeling to captain my country for the first time. I really like to get challenged in my bowling or in my career," he said. "This is a good opportunity for me. The other thing this is it is a crucial game and I am not thinking too much about the captaincy but to just to give 100% and win the match tomorrow.

"I have a lot of good support from some experienced T20 captains in the side like Mahela, Kumar , Dilshan and Angelo . As captain I want every single player to prove his skills in tomorrow's game."

Sri Lanka and New Zealand have met each other on 12 occasions and are tied at five wins apiece, with Sri Lanka having won the last two meetings. The teams also have the experience of a Super Over when the World T20 match at Pallekele in 2012 ended in a tie.

"We have no choice but to win the match if we want to get qualified for the semi-finals. However, as a team, we're in very good shape, I mean mentally. If you look at the last few games that we played, we've played well to win them," Malinga said.

"In our recent tournaments, we've always won the crucial match and came into the finals. We handled that pressure well.

With England playing Netherlands in the first match of the day, Malinga said that his team will follow closely that game to see how the pitch behaves before deciding on their final eleven. Batsman Lahiru Thirimanne is expected to replace Chandimal, but the bowling remains unclear with either Rangana Herath or Seekkhuge Prasanna in line to replace the struggling Mendis.

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  • Lalith on March 31, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    It is massacre. SL scored only 119 and NZ is bowled out for 60. Eng, NZ and Aus are out. All have fallen to spin. It is proved again that without good spinners you cannot win in Asia. I am looking forward to see ODI world cup in NZ/Aus. Can Asian teams perform with spinners or not?. I think Pak will win the last game to meet SL in Semis. It will be good night for SA in semis against Ind.

  • Fictionaliser on March 31, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    As an Indian Fan I am rooting for Lankans. Any ICC event hosted in Asia SHOULD be won by Asian Teams. We Asian Teams (India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan) should support each other. We should celebrate each others' successes overseas. At the same time we should maintain our dominance in our conditions. This is critical to gain respect from Non-Asian Cricketing world. In spite of superior performances by Kohlis, Dhawans, Dilshans, Sangakarra, Mahela, Malinga, Misbah, Ajmal & others from SL, we are labelled as Flat Track Bullies. This perception has to change. A Subcontinental Tour (India, SL, Bangladesh, UAE, etc) should be an absolute test of character for Teams outside Asia.

  • Akram on March 31, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    SL simply didn't deserve winning the Asia Cup. It was by sheer luck that they scraped past pakistan. This time they are in for a beating. Its going to hurt that a supposed Rank-1 team will leave the competition at group stage. This clearly shows that stage managing which opponents you play and where you play them might push you up the rankings, but certainly will crash you back to where you belong in ICC events such as this.

    Forget about this single match, there are actually deeper problems with SL. The selectors have no replacements to the outgoing old men (no matter how mediocre they are, there are no youngsters that I can see who can replace them) and its gonna be another painful decade for SL.

  • Arvind on March 31, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    Boult has hit a thunderbolt and the evergreen bridesmaid SL wont be even making SF this time. Look at positive. Another beating from India will be spared

  • Arvind on March 31, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Corey anderson and KS Williamson will defeat SL easily with a 50 each

  • Android on March 31, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    i like sri lanka win this kind of situation to qualify for the other round, rather than going through ti other stage just like that

  • Android on March 31, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    sri lanka shud have been clear semi finalists, they put themselves in this situation.i like sri lanka win this kind of crunch games to qualify, rather than just going through

  • Unni on March 31, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    On a serious note,Srilanka has a comfort zone ,ie they have some regular methods when they bowl and bat and if the opposition makes them do something different they are at sea.That is the reason why they have a habit of losing the finals.Srilankan Fans also acknowledge the fact that Kiwis were always a tough team for Srilanka in T20 and even at home is last WT20 they SL won in super over

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    If Malinga goes for runs then it will be difficult for SL. Senanayake is only the other bowler who has been bowling well.

  • Mike on March 31, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    Well other than purely in passing, nobody has yet mentioned the New Zealand team. We have genuine world-class bowlers, batters and fieldsmen. We just spanked India a short time ago and if we bowl first we must be a big chance in this game. Go Black Caps!

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