No matter, how much big margin a team defeats the opposition in the last game, the only thing that the team needs to take from that game is the rhythm and momentum, but that does not mean by just riding high on confidence would win you matches easily.
The same thing happened with the hosts on Friday when they were facing Sri Lanka. Having defeated Afghanistan with 150 runs, the English men were high on confidence and what followed was astonishing. Lankans were batting first and they lost the charm right from the beginning. To set good totals on the board opening partnerships holds a key. One player needs to hang in there, playing a serious knock and carry the entire innings on his shoulder as an anchor. This was surely missing in that innings; batsmen were able to get good starts but they were not able to capitalize on it in the long run except for the experienced Mathews who played a Snell’s knock 85 off 115 deliveries. Fernando and Mendis scored 49 and 46 respectively, which eventually turned out to be really handy. And at the end of the 50 overs, they were able to put 232 runs on the board.
The main twist in the tale was just yet to come and its whiff was nosed in the very first over of Malinga when he got rid of Bairstow for a golden duck. This gave the crowd an idea that there would be something special in the offerings and this is not going to be a one-sided affair this time. England made some mistakes against Sri Lanka when they were put to bat, one thing which they failed to build was partnerships which was even quoted by their captain Eoin Morgan in the post-match press conference. Only Joe root and Ben Stokes played a noteworthy innings joe root played respectable innings of 57 and stokes were able to squeeze 82 and hanged in there till the end but just wasn’t able to string the right cord.
But the star of the show arguably was legend Lasith Malinga who was just in the right form and track, gave 43 runs in his 10 over quota taking 4 crucial wickets and giving his team edge over the opposition. He was well supported by Dhananjay d’Silva who gave 32 runs with an economy of 4 and taking 3 wickets. The Lankan bowling was a delight to watch and completely mesmerizing. And matches like this prove that cricket is not just batsmen game but even bowlers can equally entertain and contribute to the spice of the game. Once again it is proved that no matter how great a team you are, you aren’t greater than the game itself.
England’s loss has surely brought an interesting phase in this World Cup. The tournament now heading into its business end, such thrilling encounters are surely on the cards. And games like these will help the tournament to maintain its excitement at a high level.