Confidence gained from win against Afghanistan was the key against India: Shanaka

Sri Lanka’s ‘Player of the Match’ Dasun Shanaka credited the team’s thrilling win against India at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday to confidence in the dressing room, following the side’s Asia Cup Super Four opener against Afghanistan at Sharjah on September 3, which gave them the belief to take on Rohit Sharma’s side.

The eight-wicket thrashing Sri Lanka got from Afghanistan in the Group B match on August 27 was a wake-up call for the former Asia Cup winners and the Islanders came back strongly in the Super Four to take revenge, before gaining the confidence to beat India on Tuesday evening.

Shanaka, who was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’ for his 2/26 from two overs and his late-order pyrotechnics that took Sri Lanka over the line on Tuesday, said post-match, “The confidence in the dressing room is great. The bowlers in patches, they bowled well. Credit to Dilshan (Madushanka 3/24), and (Maheesh) Theekshana (1/29), they bowled really well.

“The batters came out against them, but we did well. We had good discussions after the first game (against Afghanistan), and we know what we can do. Pathum (Nissanka 52) an Kusal (Menids 57) set the tone brilliantly, and (Bhanuka) Rajapaksa (25 not out) and I (33 not out) set up the chase.

Kusal Mendis, who set the tone of the chase with a 37-ball 57, said he was extremely happy with the result.

“Very happy. Pathum and I had a good start and then Rajapaksa and Shanaka had an amazing, probably this tournament’s best partnership. The right-left hand combination worked for us. I worked hard in Sri Lanka, and the coaches told me to play the normal game, take singles; hit the fours or six.

“That’s helped us get success. We tried to find the gap, and that’s the option we went for. We played our normal game. We have power hitters in the middle. My role is to play my normal game in the first six overs,” added Mendis.

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