CHRISTCHURCH: Senior Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne blamed sloppy fielding for their 98-run hiding by New Zealand in the World Cup opener at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Saturday.
Despite yet another batting collapse — nine wickets falling for 109 in a similar meltdown to their pre-tournament matches over the past month — Thirimanne said tighter fielding would have made the difference.
New Zealand, sent into bat first in cold, grey conditions, posted 331-6 and after Sri Lanka reached 124-1 in reply they folded to be all out for 233.
“We leaked 20-30 runs through poor fielding,” said Thirimanne.
“It was a good wicket but 280-290 would have been chaseable on this ground. But we didn’t field well and that cost us.”
Kane Williamson was one beneficiary of botched fielding when dropped by wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara off the first ball he faced before going on to post 57.
“We have to make an extra effort as a team. Crucial catches might can cost you at the end of the game.”
Thirimanne top scored for Sri Lanka with 65 but also felt he was partly to blame for not going on to make a century when his side needed someone to bat through the innings.
The opener had compiled a 57-run stand with Sangakkara (39) when they and Mahela Jayawardene were removed in a 12-ball burst that saw Sri Lanka reduced from 124-1 to 124-4.
“At that stage the game was nicely set for us. I think my wicket and Kumar’s cost us the game.”
Sri Lanka also suffered from key bowler Lasith Malinga returning from nearly six months sidelined with an ankle injury and being unable to stay on a consistent line and length, yielding 84 runs in his 10 overs.
Despite chilly conditions, with temperatures around 13 degrees celsius for much of the game, Thirimanne said they could not blame the conditions.
“We have been playing here two months now so we are used to these conditions. I don’t think it was a problem.” (AFP)