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World Cup, M1: Sri Lanka v New Zealand – an honest opinion

Let’s be honest we got thrashed by New Zealand yesterday. We did not lose due to:
Cricket board being bad, political interference, terrible coaching, no proper preparation, hurriedly arranged Indian tour + everything else under the sun. Here is why I think we lost. 

New Zealand bats – 331/6 in 50 overs

Sangakkara drops Kane Williamson on Zero. Sangakkara should have taken that catch, no excuses.  New Zealand were 110 for 1 in 15 overs at the time , should have been two wickets down.

Kane Williamson scores 57 more runs after being dropped again on 24 – by Angelo Mathews If I remember correctly. Hard chance yes – but at this level those should be taken.

New Zealand should have been 278 for 6 in the 46th over, not to be , Jeevan Mendis drops a sitter when Corey Anderson was on 38 in 30 balls . In the next 16 balls Corey scores another 37 runs.  Less said the better.

Angelo Mathew’s captaincy when New Zealand batted

Jeevan Mendis takes two wickets on the 34th over and does not bowl again (New Zealand were 193 for 4 at the end of the 34th Over).  Defies all logic!. Rangana Herath bowls only 9 overs. Unbelievable!  And Kulasekara bowls dollys in the death overs. OK – may be Angelo wants to keep Herath & Jeevan Mendis fit for the next game.  Fair enough ! Sri Lankans like the underdog tag , lose a few and then squeeze through the back door for the quarterfinals – good confident strategy. But wait –  before that we need to beat Bangladesh , Afghanistan and Scotland. Can we? Cricket captaincy is not rocket science.  There is no substitute for common sense.

Sri Lanka bats – 233/10 in 46.1 overs

Mahela Jayawardena nicks a harmless Vettori delivery in his 442nd ODI.  He scores nothing – Sri Lanka slump to 125/3. OK No worries – Mahela never stops learning and he takes his own time to find form. That’s normal and acceptable.

Sangakkara decides to step out immediately thereafter , misses a swinging full toss , plumb in front.  Excellent judgment , at that time Sri Lanka needed the world’s best batsman to lose concentration  – thank you for your 39 runs. Sri Lanka sinks deeper into misery !

Dimuth Karunarathna  doesn’t know where his off stump is until he heard the death rattle delivered courtesy Milne.

Jeevan Mendis closes his eyes , puts his head down and tries a blind shot over his head.  Surely he did’nt hear the nick because he was deafened by the fear of genuine quick bowling.  Out for 4! Sri Lanka 168/6. No issues still a bit of hope. .

Nuwan Kualsekara.. 21 balls 10 runs – out three times , luckily 3rd chance was taken by the KIWIs. Inspirational batting ! Well done ! Game over !.

For the next games
Replace Dimuth Karunarathna with any other player from the squad.
Replace Kulasekara with Chameera. Kulasekara’s military medium pace does not work.  Genuine fast bowling works all the time. Swing happens sometimes but not all the time.  

Food for thought

Reputation, past performance and statistics do not win matches. A player is as good as his last performance. Performance on the day win matches! Tournaments are not for learning, learning ends when you take up national duties. Do the basics right first! Have self-belief, exercise good judgment! Have the will to fight till the end.  Losing in pursuit of a win is respectable. Humiliation hurts.

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