Malinga comments backfire

Rex Clementine reporting from Galle

On Sri Lanka’s arrival home from Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka Cricket decided that Lasith Malinga should sit on the head table alongside captain Angelo Mathews to take journalists’ questions although vice-captain designated was Upul Tharanga. It proved to be a disaster. When asked about dropped catches that cost Sri Lanka a semi-final berth in the Champions Trophy, Malinga said that catches won’t cost you matches. The popular saying in cricket, however, is that catches win you matches.

His comments began to haunt him as he put down Solomon Mire during the first ODI in Galle yesterday and the 27-year-old batsman went onto smash a match-winning 112 off 96 balls. Malinga’s team-mates put down two more chances, but overall Malinga was the worst fielder on show yesterday with misfields and lack of commitment on the field.

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews admitted that fielding cost his team dearly.

"After getting 315 on the board, I thought we had enough on the board. It was turning a bit. We had the bowlers to defend it, but we didn’t bowl well. Poor performance by the bowlers and fielding once again let us down. We dropped crucial catches at crucial moments. We have trained extremely hard on fielding, but it’s just that on crucial occasions we keep dropping catches which cost us the game," Mathews noted.

"Very disappointing and very disheartening the way we went about things. It was below par. We had enough resources to restrict them today. We all know that catches win matches. It’s a true fact. Dropping crucial catches was the turning point today," he further said.

Zimbabwe had no issues chasing down the target as they won with six wickets and 14 deliveries to spare. "We should give credit to their batsmen who kept sweeping and reverse sweeping against our spinners. They took the spinners off the line. Even thought we bowled and fielded badly, they deserve credit for the way they batted."

"Bowlers weren’t up to the mark. On this wicket 316 was a good score. The bowlers didn’t do well and I am hoping for a better game. I have to talk to the selectors about the next game."

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