We weren’t outplayed: Jayawardene
Kandy, Aug 7: Still smarting from the 1-4 ODI series loss against the touring Indians, Sri Lanka lost the only T20I making it a dismal competition for the hosts. According skipper Mahela Jayawardene, SL were once again done in by their failure to execute their game plan.
Speaking to the media after the game, Jayawardene analysed his team’s poor run against India in the shorter formats of the game.
On losing the sole T20I against India
It is disappointing. Around the halfway mark we had a chat and the plan was to try and consolidate [the innings] in that middle period [and] just bat. We didn’t have to take any risk, we were chasing only 150 [-odd runs] [and needed to score at] eight runs an over. [We] just [needed to] get to 15-16 overs and then with wickets in hand we could have accelerated. But we didn’t execute that game plan so we are disappointed.
On whether they were outplayed throughout India’s tour
I can’t say [we were] outplayed. I think we played good cricket. We had our opportunities but we didn’t capitalise on them. I don’t think we were outplayed [though] the results [look] that [way]. Performance wise, in the one-dayers we had a fairly good run against them. And today as well we probably we didn’t play to our potential.
On whether India would start as favourites in the ICC World T20 given their current form
In Twenty20 cricket I think all the teams are very much in the race. Anything can happen. It’s about how you perform on the day. If you can execute the game plan without making too many mistakes [you can win]. You have seen the past T20 World Cups – Ireland has beaten teams, Zimbabwe has beaten teams. So in my experience all 12 teams start in a good position. It depends on how you start the tournament and how you get the momentum.
On identifying roles for players in the ICC World T20
Lahiru [Thirimanne], the way he bats in the middle and Jeevan [Mendis], those are the two guys who we think we can go forward with. Jeevan being a spinning all-rounder gives us another option. Shaminda Eranga, coming back from injury, I thought bowled really well. We feel he has got potential but we have another two-three weeks to decide on our final combination. Kumar [Sangakkara] has to come back, he will fit into the middle-order. [Then there is] [Nuwan] Kulasekara. Ajantha [Mendis] has played a few games now in domestic cricket so he will have a good run in the next two-three weeks and see whether he is going to be fit for the World Cup. So we just need to finalise the entire squad. We will have more options coming our way – we just have to make sure we take the right options and find the right combination going forward into the [ICC] World Cup [T20].
On the wicket’s role in the loss
The wicket was very good; I don’t think we should blame the wicket. Even when we lost wickets we still had to score at seven-and-a-half to eight runs an over. In a T20 game that’s a decent [required run rate] if you have kept wickets in hand. But when you are starting a game at 7 in the night, both teams [face] pretty much the same conditions. It’s not going to change drastically unless the wicket slows down a lot, but I don’t think it did. [The ball] came on nicely [to the bat]. It’s just that our execution [of plans] was not up to the standard, so we have to take that responsibility.