Hosts and defending champions Australia slumped to a massive 89-run defeat to New Zealand as they started their campaign on a disappointing note. In contrast, Sri Lanka handed qualifiers Ireland a nine-wicket thrashing with Maheesh Theekshana claiming 2/19 in his quota of four overs that helped the Islanders restrict Ireland to 128/8 in 20 overs.
Theekshana said their performance against Ireland and Australia’s defeat to New Zealand have raised team’s confidence and they are ready to push the Aussies, quite vulnerable after the defeat, out of the semifinal contention.
“Following the Australia-New Zealand (match), we got a win (against Ireland, we had) the confidence (in that game). We (now) have the confidence better than the Australian team, and hopefully (we can bring that into the) game tomorrow,” Theekshana said in a pre-match press conference here on Monday.
He said Sri Lanka are eyeing one of the spots in the last four stage and thus a win against Australia will pave the way for that.
“Yeah, it’s always nice to win a game. Our hope is always to be one of the last four teams, so we want to (qualify) as one of the last four teams, we have to beat them,” he said.
He said Sri Lanka are ready for the Aussies coming hard at them as the hosts have a very strong side.
“Actually they have very good fast bowlers and spinners so I think they will bounce back because they are the last World Cup champions, so they have to bounce back if they want to be in the tournament.
“I know they have a very good fast bowling attack. They will be like (on) the line and length in our game, but we have a very good batting lineup, as well. I think hopefully we will get more than 160, 170 runs,” he added.
After beating Ireland in Hobart on Sunday night, Sri Lanka had to take a long flight to reach Perth on Monday. But Theekshana said that would not have an impact on his team.
“Actually it’s tough to stay in a flight (for) more than four hours. So it’s not like we are not mentally ready for the game because it’s the situation in Australia; it’s a big country so a lot of travel, and we have a lot of travelling after this game, also, I think,” he said.
“It’s all part of the game, the traveling, so you have to be good mentally ready and we can win tomorrow’s game, also,” Theekshana added.
Despite the pitch having a reputation for helping the pacers, Theekshana said Sri Lanka’s spinners will play a key role in the match.
“Yeah, I think if we bowl the right length, it doesn’t matter with the wicket. Always if you’ve got a spinning wicket or you’ve got bouncy or not, I think the right length is the key in Australia,” Theekshana said.
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