Dimuth Karunaratne urged his Sri Lanka flops to stay positive after they were jeered by angry fans during Saturday’s embarrassing 10-wicket loss to New Zealand in their opening match of the World Cup. Sri Lanka crashed to 136 all out after being put into bat first in Cardiff and the Black Caps chased down the modest target in 16.1 overs. Martin Guptill, hitting 73, and Colin Munro, scoring 58, hammered the runs after pacemen Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson claimed three wickets each against hapless Sri Lanka.
But skipper Karunaratne, who stood out with his unbeaten 52, said all is not lost as long as his players don’t dwell on the defeat. “I think we have another eight games to go. We need to (keep our) chin up and play very well,” Karunaratne said in the post-match press conference.
“We need to see what we have. On the back end we need to get some partnerships, (and in) the middle part. Those are the key areas. We’re looking forward to doing it.”
The 1996 champions were on the receiving end of some booing by a group of Sri Lankan fans who were frustrated by the tame nature of their team’s loss. Karunaratne said losing the toss on a green Sophia Gardens wicket was not the ideal start, but gave no excuses for Sri Lanka’s meek surrender. “They (fans) were far from Cardiff and they spend their time and money to come here to see a good match,” said Karunaratne.
“I think that’s the main thing. If we get out for 130, you know, there is no match. We have to give them a good show at the end of the day.”
Henry rattled Sri Lanka’s top order with his incisive opening spell to return figures of 3-29 and Ferguson also got key wickets including Angelo Mathews for nought. Karunaratne fought on to register his third ODI fifty in 81 balls before he ran out of partners.
Demanding his batsmen to learn from their mistakes, Karunaratne said: “If you take this wicket, you know, you need to have a target. It’s not easy. It’s not a 300 wicket, so you need to have another game plan. “You can’t go there and hit every ball, so you have to stay calm. I think in these conditions, 250 or 240 will be a good score.
“I think they bowled really well, so we have to give them credit.”
Sri Lanka next play Afghanistan in Cardiff on June 4.