Gulf News

Missing Malinga can be a blessing in disguise

The England game proved to be a real thriller. We were slightly disappoint­ed that it came down to the wire because we should have won more convincing­ly.

- Reuters

After

three tough games in the Super Eight, we’ve had a few days to recharge the batteries in Grenada before heading into some big games.

We did not stop training completely, but instead focused on our fitness and physical conditioni­ng before resuming net practice this week. As a result, we feel refreshed and excited about the next challenge: New Zealand.

Our close-win against England has given us an excellent chance of reaching the semifinals. However, we are taking nothing for granted and are certainly not planning to wait for our game against Ireland to confirm a place in the top four.

We’re aiming to do this today by beating New Zealand — an opponent we are familiar with after several meetings over the last few months.

It is naturally disappoint­ing to be going into the game without Lasith [Malinga]. His twisted an ankle. It’s a major loss. Towards the later part of the innings, he has been brilliant for us, reverse-swinging the old ball at extreme pace and sending down the yorkers with pin-point accuracy.

Contributi­ons from all

However, I’ve always maintained that winning this World Cup will require contributi­ons from all the squad. I know our back-up bowling has the necessary quality and I’m confident the team will be able to overcome his absence against New Zealand and, realistica­lly, Australia. It might even be a blessing in disguise, allowing us to keep his unique skills under wraps.

The England game proved to be a real thriller. We were slightly disappoint­ed that it came down to the wire because we should have won more convincing­ly. However, Bopara and Nixon deserve credit for their unorthodox and inventive strokeplay which carried them so close.

When the game started, we were happy to be batting first on what we expected to be a decent pitch. We soon realised, though, that the surface was a little slow. Upul [Tharanga] and I played accordingl­y and we batted ourselves into a great position. We should have strolled to 260. However, the fall of both Upul and myself in quick succession, followed by the run out of Dilshan, left us about 15 runs short.

I was happy with my form and was ticking things over, looking to be aggressive but also to minimise risks. On hindsight, I should have waited a little longer before having a go at the bowlers. My dismissal really pulled England back into the match.

Fortunatel­y, we were once again excellent in the field and the bowlers were brilliant, especially Dilhara.

A West Indies supporter blows a conch shell during the Super Eight match between the West Indies and South Africa in St George's.

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