CWC 2023: “I think they underestimated our team”- Maheesh Theekshana on Sri Lanka’s big win over England

Sri Lankan spinner Maheesh Theekshana delivered a stinging post-match assessment, asserting that the defending champions England had significantly underestimated the island nation’s prowess. The result of this perceived underestimation was a one-sided contest in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, which unfolded in Bengaluru.

The Sri Lankan bowlers showcased exceptional accuracy on a conducive pitch, creating chaos within England’s formidable lineup and limiting them to a mere 156 runs. England, under the captaincy of Jos Buttler, had chosen to bat first after winning the toss.

Sadeera Samarawickrama and Pathum Nissanka played pivotal roles in Sri Lanka’s pursuit of the target, both notching up unbeaten half-centuries. This remarkable performance allowed Sri Lanka to chase down the target in a mere 25.4 overs, securing a memorable 8-wicket victory over England on October 27 in Bengaluru.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Maheesh Theekshana offered his insights, stating, “I think they underestimated our team because we also lost three games and we only won against the Netherlands. That’s why the result went our way because we backed our strength. We went in with a simple plan, so that’s why we won the game today.”

Acknowledging the team’s prior shortcomings, Theekshana continued, “In the first four games, we didn’t bowl well in the middle overs. I think we lost three games because of our bowling. So, we did some practice sessions to get more discipline, all the fast bowlers did their hard work before the game so they know what they have to do in the game today.”

Despite M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru being known for its batting-friendly surfaces, Theekshana noted that the pitch during this encounter favored spinners, exhibiting unexpected turn, pace, and bounce.

Reflecting on the pitch, he said, “I have played an IPL match (here) and the pitch was different. (Today) there was a bit of turn, pace, and bounce. In that IPL match, the pitch was flat and scoring runs was relatively easy. I’m not implying that it was tough to accumulate runs in this match, as we managed to score 150 runs with just two wickets down.”

Expressing the team’s newfound confidence following their victory over England, Theekshana affirmed their commitment to reaching the semifinals of the World Cup.

He concluded by saying, “Our confidence as a team has increased a lot. In this match, we got a very big victory. We are looking to play well in the upcoming four matches and reach the semifinals.”

Sri Lanka’s resounding win over England has propelled them to fifth place in the CWC 2023 points table, boasting 2 wins and 3 losses in 5 matches. On the other hand, England’s hopes of securing a semifinal spot were significantly diminished by their defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka.