England thrashing of Afghanistan - a foreshadowing of things to come for Sri Lanka ?

19 June 2019 - 167   - 0

After England amassed 397 runs against Afghanistan—the highest in the tournament so far, it is difficult to see how Sri Lanka’s ragged bowling attack might contain the hosts when they meet each other at Yorkshire Cricket ground on Friday.

By Champika Fernando in UK

After England amassed 397 runs against Afghanistan—the highest in the tournament so far, it is difficult to see how Sri Lanka’s ragged bowling attack might contain the hosts when they meet each other at Yorkshire Cricket ground on Friday.

England’s run feast came on the back of a ruthless performance by skipper Eoin Morgan who  hit a World record 17 sixes in his blistering 71 ball 148 to lead them to a record 150-run World Cup victory at Old Trafford.

A victory here for the hosts on Friday will-but cement their place in the semi-finals but will shatter any hopes of Sri Lanka having to reach the top four.

Sri Lanka’s campaign is yet to get off the ground. Even though they managed passed a stern test from the Afghanistan players—their only win in the tournament so far, their defeats to New Zealand and Australia has hurt them their chances badly. They were also badly hit by the washed out games earlier in the tournament and must win at least three of their next four games to have some hopes of reaching the semi-final.

The Cricket World Cup heads north to Headingley for the first time as England look to all-but cement their semi-final spot against Sri Lanka on Friday. Team’s bowling Coach Rumesh Ratnayake who missed out on a hat-trick in a World Cup game against Pakistan in 1983 at the same grounds when young Arjuna Ranatunga put down a straight forward chance at slips off Imran Khan says Sri Lanka is yet to play for their true potential.

“We want to win every match. We play to win every game,” Ratnayake said after overseeing few players training at the indoor nets. “We discussed the importance of doing our best. We have only seen glimpses of our potential and on the day that we materialize our potential fully, is the day we will sort  of come through. We hope in every game it will come through.

Of the three games, they played so far they have not realized their potentials. Against New Zealand, Sri Lanka batting went down like nine pins, handing an easy chase for the former finalists. Even though they beat Afghanistan, their batting was in total disarray as they were bowled out for 201 runs off 36.5 overs before bowlers set up a scintillating victory. In their last game against Australia, a familiar middle order collapsed squandered which otherwise would have been a brilliant chase to lose by 87 runs.

“I don’t think we can give any excuses. It was certainly a miss. I would not give that as an excuse. Conditions were good. We saw from the start we had in the batting it was fantastic start. We couldn’t have asked for a better start at The Oval. It’s a matter of finishing it well,” Ratnayake said referring to Sri Lanka’s batting collapse at The Oval.

“We are aware that we need to be more consistent and believe in ourselves. We have the potential and batsmen are aware of that. Nobody wants to get out cheaply. That’s in our mind. Every match we go in we hope it will work well,” he explained.

Ratnayake said the team is well aware of the challenges on offer against marauding Englishmen on Friday. England are one of the hot favourites to win the title this year.

“We know that they have a strong batting line up and they keep attacking. Their game plan is like that of West Indies of the past. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have flaws. We have watched them and we know what their weak areas are and it is a matter of exploiting those areas of vulnerabilities. There aren’t much of that but whatever they have, we have to exploit that,” he explained.

Apart from their strong batting line up, England has got, probably the best bowling unit at present with the Barbados born seamer Jofra Archer sending shivers down the batsmen with his express delivering of over 150 kmph.

“We have seen him and that’s lot of input isn’t it. He attacks the stumps and he is sensational isn’t it,” Ratnayake who himself was a fast bowler said. “They have variety on all aspects. They have got pace and they have got guys who can move the ball. Those are the challenges our batsmen face. We are prepared for that. We will try to stimulate as much as possible like bowling machine and granite. But it is not like the real game. The actual thing is the real game. Boys are ready and we did well against them in one game in Colombo.”

Meanwhile Lasith Malinga who returned home following the Australia game on Saturday to attend the arms-giving of his mother-in-law has rejoined the team but not trained yesterday.

“He was here and he was going to train today. The weather wasn’t good for him to train. He flew in yesterday (Tuesday). He will bowl tomorrow and he has done well in the tournament. A few overs tomorrow will help him to get into his strides,” he added. As weather did not permit outdoor training, only a few players were seen in training at the indoor nets

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