Durham, UK: Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne is refusing to give up on his team’s World Cup hopes ahead of today’s must-win clash against the West Indies.
Karunaratne’s side no longer have control of their World Cup fate after losing to already-eliminated South Africa on Friday.
A victory in Durham against the West Indies, who are also about to head home, could keep 1996 champions Sri Lanka in with a slender chance of making the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament going into their last match against India.
They will need help from other results, but Karunaratne is confident his team’s batsmen are ready to power them to a strong finish in their last two group games.
“We can’t control the other games, you know. Sometimes they were playing really well, sometimes they couldn’t,” Karunaratne said yesterday.
“I think we had a good chance. Still we have a chance, I think, but we have to win these two games and wait to see what will happen in the other games.
“Only we can control the matches we are going to play, the two matches, so we are trying to give our best and try to win these two matches and, hopefully, if we have a chance, we definitely can be in the top four teams.”
Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign has been undermined by poor batting, with their surprise win over hosts England largely achieved due to fine bowling.
Karunaratne and Kusal Perera have both made half-centuries, but no Sri Lankan has reached three figures yet.
“I think the batting is the main collapse, you know. We couldn’t get a hundred,” Karunaratne said.
“We played like six, five matches, so we couldn’t get a hundred, only a couple of 50s in our team, so that is the only major thing.
“If you want to compete with the good sides, you definitely got to have a good batting line-up and you have to put runs on the board.”
Karunaratne has resisted the temptation to bring in an extra batsmen after Nuwan Pradeep suffered chickenpox, calling up bowler Kasun Rajitha instead.
“If some fast bowler gets injured, there is no fast bowler, so you want to take a fast bowler into the squad in case if someone get injured,” he added.
“We have enough batsmen. They have capabilities to score runs, but the only thing is they were scoring but as a unit we couldn’t perform really well in these matches.”
Earlier, former captain Mahela Jayawardene has urged Sri Lanka to keep believing they can still reach the semi-finals, pleading for the batsmen to show consistency.
“Sri Lanka must still believe they can get to the semi-finals of the World Cup – but it’s their lack of consistency that keeps holding them back,” Jayawardene wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council.