When Sri Lanka left on May 18 , two-weeks ahead of the scheduled opening of the Champions Trophy, few expected them to go beyond the first round, leave along winning the Cup which they shared 15-years ago with India. They did no let down their fans as they headed home following their three wickets defeat to Pakistan in a must-win group game.
But coach Graham Ford is impressed with the promised their shows particularly against India when they produced one of the most spectacular chases in Sri Lanka’s recent history to scale down a mammoth 321 with four wickets in hand.
"If you look at the number of caps in the India side, and the number of caps in ours, we're vastly inexperienced, yet we outplayed them completely,” Ford said hours after landing in Colombo.
Sri Lanka team is largely inexperience with Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Asela Gunaratne having played fewer than 30 ODIs.
“I do feel that with inexperience, we're not going to get those performances every day of the week. We are going to have disappointments. But as time goes by - some of our players have played 20-odd, or fewer than 20 ODIs - and they get to 80, 90, 100 ODIs, these guys are going to win us a lot of games. That win was against the team everyone is talking about being favourites to win the tournament."
Following their victory against India, one of the semifinalists, Sri Lanka had to beat Pakistan to enter the semifinals but another middle order batting collapse coupled with some atrocious fielding saw Sri Lankan squandering a great chance to enter the semifinals.