But following their mesmerizing win over pre-tournament favourite England on Friday, Sri Lanka will look to create more upsets as they are now determined to earn a spot among the last four. They will meet South Africa on Friday. With just one win out of seven matches, South Africa remain number nine in the points table. Even if they win their remaining two games, the semis are out of their reach.
Kusal Mendis, who scored 41 in Sri Lanka’s win over England last Friday, says the victory against England was a welcome boost to their confidence as they approach the tail-end of the tournament.
“It was an important win,” Mendis said. “We had to win three of the four games if we were to progress to the semis. We did lot of planning ahead of the game. As batsmen, we couldn’t get the score we wanted. Aviskha batted really well, taking on the bowling in the first ten overs. Then, Angelo finished things off well. Our plans worked off. Winning against the world’s number one ranked team is a good thing as it will help boost our confidence.”
Mendis credited young batsman Avishka Fernando, who scored an aggressive 49 off 39 in his first World Cup game, and Angelo Mathews, who made a painstaking unbeaten 85 to help Sri Lanka post a good total.
“When I was in the middle with Avishka, I tried to give him the strike most of the time by getting singles," he explained. "He looked in good touch and, had he stayed on for bit longer, he would have had a devastating effect. Angelo told me not to worry about playing too many dot balls because he could always catch up with big hitting. That helped me put my head down and concentrate on picking up singles."
“Avishka batted in his normal style," he said. "He took the pressure off everyone as he was scoring at a good rate. Batting with him was so easy."