Tougher battles ahead in knock-out stages: Sangakkara

Monday, 21 March 2011 00:38 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said the thumping win over New Zealand in their final group match is good for his side’s confidence but it has to be ready for tougher battles in the knock-out stages of the World Cup.

“It’s always nice to win but you have to be realistic in matters like these. It’s good for our confidence but we have to know the real test lies from the quarterfinals,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman who scored a match-winning, maiden Cup century and went past 9,000 runs in ODIs.

“It’s nice to score runs in these games, but the big test comes in the quarter finals. Hopefully I can repeat such performance in those games,” added the 33-year-old who made a superb 111 in 128 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes to guide the Lankans to a 112-run triumph on Friday. He also felt happy to have scored a century in a winning cause. “If you end up on the winning side after scoring a hundred, you feel special,” he said.

Sangakkara praised the efforts of his bowlers, in particular Muttiah Muralitharan who came on to bowl despite suffering a bruise in his knee when he fell down while taking a run.

“He has bowled beautifully even on one leg. He’s done that before in Australia with an injury and nearly won us a game. He did that here,” said the Lankan captain about his star spinner’s haul of four for 25.

Asked about the key roles played by the three seniors in the team — himself, his predecessor Mahela Jayawardena (66) and Muralitharan, Sangakkara said, “That’s what our role is all about. We have to show our responsibility and do justice to the kind of seniority we have,” he remarked.