‘Batting was our downfall’– Angelo Mathews

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A disappointed Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews blamed poor batting for the downfall in their second heaviest defeat against Bangladesh in the opening game of the Asia Cup on Saturday.

The 137-run defeat followed after Sri Lanka got off to a good start when recalled paceman Lasith Malinga struck twice in the first over and then Tamim Iqbal had to retire hurt after being hit by a short delivery to injure his wrist.

But Bangladesh’s former skipper Mushfiqur Rahaim stood like a tiger smashing four sixes and 11 boundaries in his 144 to steer Bangladesh to a fighting 261 run total but that too owed to a drop catch on ten by Dilruwan Perera off Thisara Perera.

Sri Lankan were then bundled out for 124 in 35.2 overs to lose the group B game and now meets Afghanistan in a do-or-die game on Monday.

Mathews accepted batting was to be blamed.

“Batting was the downfall today. We took three early wickets and then let them off the hook by dropping some crucial catches,” said Mathews, who dropped Mohammad Mithun on one.

Mithun went on to score a valuable career-best 63 and helped Mushfiq add 131 for the third wicket.

Malinga’s effort of 4-23 went in vain.

“Lasith was outstanding. Despite the drawbacks, I thought 260 was a chase-able target on a very good wicket. We made too many bad decisions while batting.” Mathews admitted Afghanistan’s match needed to be won.

“We are definitely under pressure. We have got one life-line. It is a do-or-die game for us,” said Mathews of the game in Abu Dhabi.

“Looking forward to the last game which a quick turnaround. We have got one-day training and the next day we are travelling to Abu Dhabi. Looking forward to the next game.”

Mathews pointed to the wrong balance of the team.

“We had to change our combination looking back at South Africa series. After Danushka and Chandimal injuries we had to change a few things. We went one batsman short as Dilruwan can also bat.

“But the bulk of the batting has to be done by the top order and we let the team down. Unfortunately, we made a few bad decisions while batting. ” Mathews said.

Sri Lankan skipper also blamed poor fielding.

“It is just that we are not consistent. We have one brilliant day and one extremely poor day. That cannot happen in a tournament. If you lose one game you are under a lot of pressure.

“We have let the opposition off the hook. We had them three for three and then with the next two batsmen having scored less than ten runs we dropped them. They really cashed in. But as I keep saying, 260 we take any day and the batters let us down.” he said.

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