ODI World Cup 2023: Maheesh Theekshana takes a swipe at England on underestimating Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan spin sensation Maheesh Theekshana doesn't hold back as he accuses England of underestimating his team, leading to a surprising eight-wicket victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
Sri Lankan spinner Maheesh Theekshana took a dig at England, suggesting that the defending champions had miscalculated by underestimating the Sri Lankan team, resulting in a resounding eight-wicket defeat that could jeopardize their chances of reaching the World Cup semifinals.
The Sri Lankan bowlers excelled on a challenging pitch, dismissing England for a mere 156 runs before securing a victory driven by impressive fifties from Sadeera Samarawickrama and Pathum Nissanka.
Theekshana stated in the post-match press conference, "I believe they underestimated our team because we had also lost three games, with our sole victory coming against the Netherlands. Our success today was due to our faith in our strengths and a straightforward game plan."
Sri Lanka's bowlers had struggled in their previous four matches, leaking runs generously, with South Africa even amassing a total exceeding 400.
Theekshana acknowledged that Sri Lanka executed their strategies more effectively in this match, noting, "In the initial four games, our bowling in the middle overs was subpar, leading to three losses. To rectify this, we had intensive practice sessions to enhance our discipline. All our fast bowlers put in the hard work beforehand, so they were well-prepared for today's match."
Theekshana also observed a change in the character of the pitch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, typically known for aiding batsmen, as it offered bowlers some assistance. He explained, "I've played an IPL match here, and the pitch was different. In this match, there was a bit of turn, pace, and bounce. I'm not saying it was overly challenging to accumulate runs, as we managed to reach 150 runs with only two wickets down."
The spinner praised pacers Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Kumara for their pivotal contributions to the match, saying, "In the initial few overs, we leaked a few runs due to an incorrect length. But when Angelo took the ball, his experience helped adjust the length, and Lahiru maintained it. This enabled us to regain our bowling discipline, and as England adopted a defensive approach, we had opportunities to take wickets, which was our game plan."
Theekshana believes that the victory over England has boosted the team's confidence and they are now more prepared to face upcoming matches with greater self-assurance. He expressed, "Our team's confidence has significantly increased with this significant victory. We aim to perform well in the next four matches and secure a place in the semifinals."