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We don't really have time to make mistakes: Sadeera Samarawickrama

Last updated on 21 Oct 2023 | 04:47 PM
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We don't really have time to make mistakes: Sadeera Samarawickrama

Sri Lanka registered their first win of the 2023 World Cup, beating the Netherlands by five wickets

Sadeera Samarawickrama said the run-chase against the Netherlands wasn’t as simple as it looked. Chasing a target of 263, the right-hander crafted 91* off 107 and got Sri Lanka over the line in the penultimate over, giving them their first win of the 2023 World Cup

“It was really tough in the middle part, because the ball was whipping at times, so myself and Charith - we thought that it's not going to be easy in the latter part, so we have to bat well in the middle overs. So I think our plan is to take the game deeper. I think we got the singles and all that, so I think we stuck to our basics, that's it,” said Samarawickrama.

“Their bowlers bowled very well. And the wicket was very supportive of them. So, I told every player who came that they could complete this by 40 or 42 overs. It was not easy. Because of the condition of the wicket, it was not easy for a new batsman to come and set up. We took the game right down to the last one or two overs, assessing how to secure the victory under the given circumstances.”

Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis in the powerplay but Samarawickrama and Pathum Nissanka (54) put on 52 runs to give some stability to the run-chase. Samarawickrama then added 77 runs with Charith Asalanka and 76 runs with Dhananjaya de Silva and that set up the chase beautifully.

“As the overs progressed, it became evident that the pitch was offering more assistance to the bowlers than it did when we were bowling. The opposition bowlers displayed excellent accuracy with their line and length, particularly the spinners who delivered skillful performances. As I mentioned earlier, we aimed to prolong the match as deep as we could. Me and my batting partners focused on executing the fundamentals, which is why we were able to attain these scores.”

Firstly, Sri Lanka shouldn’t have allowed the Netherlands to score those many runs. Kasun Rajitha and Dilshan Madushanka, who picked up four wickets each, reduced the Netherlands to 91/6 but allowed Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan van Beek to put on 130 runs for the seventh wicket.

“I really think we put a lot of pressure on them. That's why we were able to take six wickets. And considering those batsmen, they played well at that time. Our bowlers bowled well. But they survived very well at that time and built a good partnership. They were able to achieve a good result because they did what we did. 

“I believe our fielding displayed some weaknesses. The bowlers performed admirably today, benefitting from favorable pitch conditions. In particular, Kasun Rajitha and Dilshan Madushanka exhibited exceptional performances right from the beginning. Aside from that crucial partnership, our bowlers maintained their excellence throughout the match today.”

Sri Lanka have finally opened their account in the World Cup and will now take on the faltering defending champions England on October 26. “Our plan was to win a game after the three games we lost and to gain momentum as a team. 

“Now, we know that next we have to play very good teams. We don't really have time to make mistakes. I believe it's crucial for our team to come together and discuss our strategies, focus on fundamental aspects, and prepare for the upcoming matches. Moving forward, we must give 100% effort. It's only by doing that that we can sustain our presence in this tournament.”

Reflecting on the loss, Netherlands Engelbrecht, who brought up his maiden ODI fifty also credited Logan van Beek for the epic partnership the two put on.

"A lot of credit needs to go to Logan, I thought he batted brilliantly and we just try to extend and take it as deep as possible," Engelbrecht said. 

"So, we just told ourselves, if we can get to the last ten overs with six down, we're giving ourselves a good chance. So, for us, it really wasn't necessarily about trying to accumulate runs. It was just about making sure that we get into positive positions and pick up the runs when we could. But to try and lay a bit of a foundation for us to start scoring a little bit more freely to the back end, which we managed to do. 

"So, happy with the partnership. I thought Logan batted brilliantly and together we just kind of kept on going. We were pretty calm out there and then on the 40th over we try to shift gears to try and accumulate a little bit more runs. So yeah, it was a good partnership for us, but it would have been fantastic to get a little bit more."

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