Sri Lanka eyes semis spot

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Dinesh Mar 26 AFP Sri Lankan Twenty20 cricket captain Dinesh Chandimal says his side has a special game plan for their clash with England. Photo: Ishara S Kodikara

Chittagong, Bangladesh – Sri Lanka will target a place in the semis in their match against England in Chittagong, as action resumes after a day’s rest in World Twenty20 on Thursday.

A win will establish Sri Lanka’s position in Group One. South Africa, in the same group, will also seek an easy win against the Netherlands, on Thursday.

However, Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal said his side will not take anything for granted.

“England are a good T20 side and we have special game plans for them but we are never going to underestimate them,” said Chandimal, whose team beat South Africa by five runs in their opening match.

They then crushed the Netherlands by nine wickets after demolishing them for 39 all out – the lowest-ever total in Twenty20 internationals.

“To win the first match was important for our team and it is that momentum we carried into the second game and that is very important,” said Chandimal.

“We know if we win one of our last two games we can make it to the semi-finals, but we are looking to win both.”

England’s middle-order batsman Ravi Bopara said his team is looking forward to the challenge.

“It is a must win game for us,” admitted Bopara. “We have to win, winning against Sri Lanka would be a big thing for us, which will be a big confident boost and that’s the way we are looking at it.”

Bopara said England will be up to the challenge of facing paceman Lasith Malinga.

“It is tough to hit Malinga,’’ said Bopara of the slinger Malinga, regarded as one of the best death over bowlers.

“I think the best way to approach him is trying to deflect him past the gaps, and hope to get some bat on it to square, he does a very good slower ball.”

South African paceman Dale Steyn admitted the mood was different after a narrow two-run win over New Zealand.

“I think the camp would have been completely different for us had we lost the game (against New Zealand),” said Steyn, who defended seven runs in the last over.

“We lost the first and won the second, so it’s going to be like a win (means) everything from now on.”

The Netherlands captain Peter Borren vowed his team will show improvement.

“I look at our top order and we have guys there who can really play and have played at this level and done fine before,” said Borren, whose team remarkably beat much fancied Ireland by chasing 190 in under 14 overs to qualify for Super-10.

“I know this team can play, I believe in this team and I hope we can show that in the next three games. It certainly won’t be a case of damage limitation.

Title-holders the West Indies beat hosts Bangladesh in the only match in Group two on Tuesday.

Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals. The final will be played in Dhaka on April 6. – Sapa-AFP



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