GEELONG (Australia): The Asia Cup title is a thing of the past now, insists Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka, saying their only focus right now is to produce a perfect performance in their must-win match against the Netherlands to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup.
Stunned by Namibia in their tournament opener, Sri Lanka bounced back strongly to beat UAE by 79 runs in a first round Group A game.
But occupying the third spot in Group A, Shanaka’s men will now have to win their last match against table toppers Netherlands on Thursday to ensure their place in the Super 12 stage.
“…I think Asia Cup champions is history, so it’s just a title for us. There is no pressure at all. We just need to concentrate on our own performances and what we need to do to make sure that we get into that second round after the next game.”
“We know our strength. The first game we didn’t execute in that match, so we got beaten by Namibia. But we are a far better team from the team we performed in the first game,” Shanaka said ahead of the match against the Netherlands.

The skipper lauded the performances of Pathum Nissanka (74) and Dushmantha Chameera (3/15) against UAE on Tuesday, but said it’s time he and the big-hitting Bhanuka Rajapaksa score some runs.
“I think we need to have myself (score runs) and Bhanu needs to kick on in this tournament, as well.
“Pathum Nissanka, he really played throughout, and it was an outstanding innings. And Wanindu and Dushmantha and even Maheesh Theekshana, we know how good they are when it comes to these kinds of games. They were performing well. You saw from the time they started their careers,” he said.
Sri Lanka are also troubled by injuries in the tournament with Chameera being ruled out of Thursday’s match with a calf injury. His further participation in the tournament, if the team progresses, also lies in doubt.

Besides Chameera, there are also concerns over Danushka Gunathilaka, who missed the UAE game, and Pramod Madushan as both are down with hamstring injuries. “It’s not finalised yet, so still we are deciding. I think definitely two or three fast bowlers will be here soon.
“So what I told them is he (Chameera) went to the scan today, so still waiting for the report. I think he will not able to play tomorrow anyway. We are waiting until the reports come,” Shanaka said.
“I think Danushka will be fine, also waiting from the scan, so we are waiting. Today morning only they went, so yeah, we are still waiting for that.”

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By Dipak

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