Sri Lanka's captain Dimuth Karunaratne
Sri Lanka's captain Dimuth Karunaratne, left, walks off after being dismissed by South Africa's bowler Kagiso Rabada, middle, during the Cricket World Cup match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, England, Friday, June 28, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Birmingham: After their defeat to South Africa on Friday in a must-win match for Sri Lanka, their skipper Dimuth Karunaratne admitted that his team failed in all departments of the game.

“We went wrong everywhere,” he admitted after the nine-wicket humiliation. “Although Kusal (Perera) and Avishka (Fernando) batted really well, we just weren’t able to rotate the strike and get the singles. That is the key here… and when you don’t get singles you go for big shots, which can be dangerous. Unfortunately, we had only 200 on the board, and the wicket was getting better and better, after which they batted really well.”

Karunaratne also confessed that it was a good batting wicket, and yet they managed to put on only 200 runs. “It was a must-win game for us,” he said. “But we failed to get a big total on the board. The only disappointment is that we couldn’t protect the strike, and we ended with a very low score.”

At the same time he praised the South African bowling. “Despite the wicket being slow, they bowled really well, and their fielders inside the ring kept the pressure on,” he said. “They planned it really well. We couldn’t get the singles and kept looking for big shots.”

The Sri Lankan skipper was also upset that his team’s bowling failed. “We needed to get early wickets,” he admitted. “Malinga started really well, but we couldn’t build any pressure from the other end and nobody could get wickets. We need to learn how to build pressure on the batsmen in these tournaments. We need to learn how to get batsmen to make mistakes.”

So given that their last two matches ahead are tough ones, Karunaratne hopes to compete with them well. “We must beat West Indies and India in our next two matches, and they are good teams,” he said. “For that, we will have to work very hard in all three departments, and not just do better in just one or two.”

Karunaratne also pointed out that South African skipper Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla showed what the Sri Lankans should have done to win the match. “Du Plessis and Amla batted really well in a tough period,” said. “They didn’t want to get out. And once they were set, they went for the big shots and also kept rotating the strike. That is what I expected from our players too. They should have kept rotating the strike and batted till about 35 to 40 overs, and then gone for the big shots. Since we failed to do that, they built the pressure on us.”