Sri Lanka came into the Afghanistan match at the MCA Stadium in Pune on a high, after dismantling defending champion England by eight wickets in its previous game.
But on Monday, the island nation was brought back to the ground by a clinical Afghanistan side, which now has the semifinal spot in its sights.
Sri Lankan spinner Maheesh Theekshana chose to point out how his side wasn’t helped out by the varying conditions.
“I think today when we batted, the wicket was a little bit slow. Then when the dew came in, the wicket got a lot better when they batted. I think we did bowl really well on that wicket,” said Theekshana after the match.
Sri Lankan spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge though chose to lavish praise on Afghanistan.
“They are on top of their game now. They are bowling well. And their batting and fielding have been exceptional too. You have to give credit to Afghanistan, as they are a relatively new team.” said Wijetunge.
Sri Lanka was held back by its effort with the bat, with none of the batters succeeding to accelerate after settling in, as Afghan bowlers kept plugging away.
“We were comfortably placed at 150 for three but kept losing wickets at crucial moments. So that made the difference. Obviously, when you lose wickets, your run rate drops. We must accept the fact that we did not play our best,” added Wijetunge.
The defeat also has made Sri Lanka’s progression in the tournament doubtful. But Wijetunge chose to see this as an opportunity for his side to display its fortitude. “This is the pressure of the World Cup. It is a bad loss for us. We must bounce back at the earliest.”
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