Belfast Telegraph

Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka ready to kill off threat of Black Caps

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara insists his side will not be affected by complacency as they head into a home World Cup semi-final buoyed by a 10-wicket hammering of England.

Openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan required no help to guide their team past England's total of 229 on Saturday, but that will count for nothing as New Zealand provide today's opposition at the R Premadasa Stadium.

The Black Caps have already sprung one surprise in the knock-out stages, dumping out South Africa in the last eight, and Sangakkara said: “There's no room for complacency at all and there's no chance of that happening.

“The main reason it seemed an easier match than we expected (against England) was because our openers put on a magnificent performance — those kind of partnerships don't come round too often.

“Tomorrow is the only day that counts at this moment. It's a new game — it's nothing to do with England, we are starting from square one.”

Sri Lanka's build-up has been dominated by anxiety over the fitness of legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who is suffering from knee and thigh problems.

Sangakkara said: “Murali and everybody around him are trying to get him as fit as possible and ready to play.

“If he can play that will be great, if not we have enough cover. We have a couple of fast bowlers such as Nuwan Kulasekara, who has done exceptionally well.”

New Zealand were beaten semi-finalists in 1975, 1979, 1992, 1999 and 2007, the latter defeat coming against Sri Lanka.

Skipper Daniel Vettori said: “Everyone wants to talk about our record, but this is an amazing achievement for a small country.

“We have our expectations, it's irrelevant what people say. We reached the Champions Trophy final in 2009, there we went one step further.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph