- Sri Lankan batsman says the game against India is a big one
Sri Lanka’s former Captain and man of the match at Monday’s thrilling win against Australia for his unbeaten 84, Mahela Jayawardena, has said the Thursday’s semi-final against India is a big one.
In a post-match interview Mahela also shared key insights to Monday’s game as well as his milestone of reaching 11,000 ODI runs. Here are excerpts.
Q: Was there any point of time when you thought it was getting away from you?
A: I think the entire time the situation probably dictated how the game was unfolding. I mean, they were going hard up front to try and qualify within those 29 overs, so we knew there was an opportunity for us to grab wickets which we did. Obviously, when they stopped doing that, we knew we had the time that we need to take three wickets. So two wickets at that particular time, which is always going to be tough because they only had to score two or three times an over. So we had to be a bit more creative and be patient.
So it was a fascinating game of cricket purely because of the situation where Australia was and where we were.
Q: Mahela, you reached 11,000 ODI runs today. So what was the feeling like after reaching that milestone?
A: We obviously in that situation in the middle, I didn’t feel anything. Obviously, pleased when the numbers came up. But, obviously, I can tonight probably reflect more on that achievement because we won the game as well. So importantly the contribution that I made towards the team is much more valuable for me, but quietly I should be able to reflect on that achievement.
Q: How much input do you give Angelo from a captaincy perspective and tactically at this point still?
A: I try not to do too much. Let him, you know, make all the calls, but try to help him out in tough situations when I feel that he is out of sorts or something. Because it’s important that it’s his team now and for him to make mistakes sometimes or make good calls and learn while on the job. So I try to help him as much as possible in tough situations, just be wise here and there but I think so far in this tournament we’ve had some really tough games and I thought Angelo handled himself really well, so our job is to try to help him as much as possible.
Q: Looking forward to the semis, you’ve already played India once in the warm‑up. What are the key areas to counter that?
A: I think they’re playing some really good cricket. Their batting looks really strong, so those are key areas that we need to focus a bit on, but it’s the semi-final. Warm‑up games or whatever, it doesn’t count right now. It’s a big tournament. It’s the semi-final, so looking forward to that.
Q: The last two finals you shared a Champions Trophy final with India. How desperate does this make you?
A: I don’t know. I mean, you could see how desperate I was today. So I’ll be desperate for every game to win, simple as that. It’s not about trophies or whatever; it’s just to win matches. So I’ll have that same passion and same desperation to win games, doesn’t matter if it’s a semi-final or final or just a group game. As long as I have that attitude and the rest of the boys, we’ll go a long way.
Q; What were your issues with Matt Wade out there?
A: Nothing much, just a little bit of (indiscernible) obviously. It’s all good. We shook hands after the game. Obviously he said something about the way I was batting the last few overs, so I just told him don’t worry, there is obviously a plan. You see once we finished the game, obviously, I probably had the last laugh.