Sunday, October 20, 2019
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We did not play for the rain: Angelo Mathews

Mirpur: Sri Lanka’s star all-rounder Angelo Mathews is happy that his team did what was expected to do very well to ensure a victory despite the rain in the first World Twenty semi-final on Thursday.

Answering a query from Gulf News as to whether he was aware of the prediction for rain and if his quick knock was to ensure a better run rate against West Indies, Mathews said: “After the first half, we got to know that there might be a bit of rain. But we didn’t play for the rain, because you can’t really predict the rain. We just had to keep them tight and get wickets because they have some really big hitters, and if they got going, we couldn’t stop them. We had to take wickets to push them back.”

Hailing his skipper Lasith Malinga’s spell, which produced two wickets, Mathews said: “Lasith came to bowl in the first six overs, which he doesn’t do normally, but he had to come in then because we needed our best bowler to come and strike for us and he did that very well.”

Mathews believes that if rain had not stopped the match, it might have been a close game. “It would have been great if we had played the 20 overs, and it would have been a good, close game as well. Well, thanks to the weather we are in the final and we deserve to be in the final because we have played some good cricket.”

Mathews is not disappointed with the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium wicket, though it is totally different to the one in Chittagong on which they had played all their previous matches. “The last game in Chittagong was a bit slow and it turned a little bit, which helped our spinners. We have played on this wicket in the last couple of months. We were aware of conditions. It was a good wicket, the ball was coming on pretty well. For the seamers, if you bowl your slower balls, it gripped a little bit.”

Talking about his knock and partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne, Mathews said: “Thirimanne has been batting really well. We just talked about rotating the strike and try to get those ones and twos, because the boundary from one end was a little far away, so you had a chance to get those twos. We wanted to build a partnership and launch at the end. Thirimanne batted brilliantly once again and hopefully he will continue that in the final as well. In a semi-final like this, putting t runs on the board will always be pressure for the side batting second. We were aiming at 150-160, and I’m glad we were able to achieve it.”

Regarding the prospects of his team in the final, Mathews said: “We just have to take that as one of our matches. If we think too far ahead, we’ll crumble. We just want to go out and play positive cricket, enjoy and obviously win it. It doesn’t really matter whom we play in the final [out of India and South Africa] because if we want to win, we have to beat whoever comes our way.”