Sri Lanka today eased into the semifinals of the cricket World Cup where they will meet underdogs New Zealand but skipper Kumar Sangakkara cautioned his team-mates against any complacency and said they need to be at their guards against the Kiwis on March 29 here.
Chasing England's 229 for six in the fourth and final quarter-final, openers Tillaakratne Dilshan (108 not out) and Upul Tharanga (102 not out) scored superb unbeaten tons to guide Sri Lanka to a comprehensive 10 wicket win at the R Premadasa stadium with more than 10 overs to spare.
Understandably, Sangakkara credited the victory to an all-round team effort.
"Losing the toss it was an important we started well with the ball. Dilshan did that, then later came together with Tharanga and reminded us of Headingley (in 2006). The guys fought hard, especially fielding first, and they kept up the pressure," he said after the match.
Asked about their semi-final opponent -- New Zealand, whom the Sri Lankans have beaten comfortably in the group stages, Sangakkara said, "The guys are pretty confident and everyone is looking to do well. But we can't get too far ahead of ourselves, we just have to keep our heads down and feet on the ground. We need to concentrate on brushing up our basics."
"It is important to be confident but also realistic. It's a semi-final, it's a one-off game and everyone has the opportunity to do well. They will be very hungry to get into the final and so are we," he added.
Usually a good fielding side, Sri Lanka dropped a few catches against England today and the captain said, "We need to brush up our fielding and a few other areas. But I think the guys really fought hard. They had a lot of pride in the way they played."
Sangakkara also expressed confidence that veteran spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, who pulled a muscle during New Zealand innings today, will be fit to play the semi-final on Tuesday.
"Murali has pulled up a bit stiff but I'm sure he'll be fit for the next game. If not we have enough cover," he said.
His English counterpart Andrew Strauss did not hide his disappointment but said Sri Lanka were the deserving winners today.
"We thought the total was 30 light and in the end it was 50 light. To be honest we didn't get a good start with the bat. We did reasonably well in the middle but in the end we weren't able to accelerate," the England captain said.
"We thought pressure was a factor if we could get early wickets but we couldn't do it. Sri Lanka played beautifully. We've been thoroughly beaten by a better side today. They were able to bowl a lot of dot balls at us to build pressure. We weren't able to take advantage of the platform," Strauss said.
"But we have to be honest, we haven't been good enough during the tournament. This was a step too far. Over the course of the tournament our cricket hasn't been good enough and that's why we are going home. We just haven't played with enough quality with either bat or ball," he added.
Man-of-the-match Dilshan, who also scalped Strauss' wicket apart from scoring the century, was happy to have contributed with the new ball today.
"I asked Sanga (Sangakkara) if I have a chance to bowl with the new ball I will be happy to bowl. He told me yesterday but I have done it before. I want to give my 100 per cent in all departments of the game," Dilshan said.
"It was a fantastic one-day wicket...It got better and better. We knew if we started well we could build from there. We just need to carry this forward for the next couple of matches," he added.
Need to Keep Our Feet on the Ground: Sangakkara
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