Maheesh Theekshana, the off-spinner for Sri Lanka, played a pivotal role in the team’s bowling performance that left England with a mere 156 runs in the first innings. He believes that England’s lack of regard for Sri Lanka’s potential, due to their inconsistent performance in the tournament, led to their downfall.
England’s Misjudgment of Sri Lanka’s Cricket Team
Theekshana suggested that England’s underestimation of Sri Lanka’s cricket team was due to their previous losses in the tournament. “Our team was underestimated because we had lost three games and only managed to secure a win against the Netherlands,” he stated. He believes this miscalculation was a key factor in the game’s outcome.
“The result was in our favor because we relied on our strengths and implemented a straightforward strategy, which led to our victory in the game,” Theekshana added.
Theekshana’s Crucial Role in Building Pressure on England
Theekshana’s performance of 1/21 in 8.2 overs was instrumental in increasing the pressure on England’s middle order. However, his success was built on the foundation laid by his pace-bowling teammates, Lahiru Kumara and Angelo Mathews, who were particularly outstanding.
Mathews and Kumara’s Impressive Performance
Both Kumara and Mathews had not participated in Sri Lanka’s previous game. Mathews had only recently joined the squad as an injury replacement and bowled in ODIs for the first time in nearly three years. Despite this, his smart medium pace bowling led England to make several mistakes, with the 36-year-old securing the wickets of Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali.
Similarly, Kumara’s consistent quality in his pace bowling spell, marked by clever line and length, bounce, and movement, proved to be too challenging for England to handle.