12/04/2022
Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood believes his team has the wherewithal to not only challenge but also come out victorious and qualify for the knock-out round of the T20 World Cup from a tough Group 1. Sri Lanka had to go through the qualifiers to progress to the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC showpiece.

Sri Lanka had to go through the qualifiers to progress to the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC showpiece, where they are placed alongside defending champions Australia, England, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Ireland.

Sri Lanka started their campaign in the Super 12 with a comfortable nine-wicket win over Ireland before going down by seven wickets to Australia here on Tuesday. But Silverwood believes their Asia Cup title win is a testament to their potential as a unit.

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“Yeah, I truly believe that we cannot only challenge in this group but come out victorious, as well. I think we’ve shown that we have the capabilities, and I think we’ve shown that we have the skills within the group, and I think if we play to our potential, we can run anybody close,” the 47-year-old Englishman said after the defeat against Australia.

“We showed that. We showed that in the Asia Cup. The confidence is growing within the group. “Obviously the important thing from today (Tuesday) is to make sure that we regroup and get ready for the next game and we come back strong,” he added.

Against Australia, Sri Lanka posted a decent 157 for 6 before being blown away by Marcus Stoinis’ sensational unbeaten half-century. Australia were in a spot of bother at 89 for 3 in the 13th over, but then came in Stoinis who just tore apart the already injury-ravaged Sri Lankan bowling attack, smashing his nation’s fastest T20I fifty- — 59 not out off 18 balls — to hand his side an easy win.

“We have to give Stoinis credit there. The way he came in and played was exceptional. He showed how much power he had, and obviously made life very difficult for us. We knew that Australia had to come hard at us, obviously, because of the run rate and what have you, but he played superbly well, so credit to him,” Silverwood said.

Binura Fernando is the latest to feature in the injury list for Sri Lanka as the left-arm pacer was forced to leave the field just five balls into his opening over after hurting his hamstring.

Sri Lanka had been troubled by injuries from the start of the tournament with Danushka Gunathilaka, Dushmantha Chameera and Dilshan Madushanka already ruled out. Now Fernando races against time to be fit for Sri Lanka’s next game against New Zealand in Sydney, October 29.

“Obviously we’re having a bit of bad luck around injuries at the moment, especially, as you said, in the pace stock. We’ll obviously assess him (Fernando). The physio is working with him now and the doctor, so we’ll find out exactly the extent of injury to start with and we’ll have to make some decisions from there,” the coach said.

“…any injury in a team obviously in a World Cup is hard work. Obviously, we will take stock of where everybody is at the moment and make plans from there.”