Silverwood delighted to meet Sri Lankan expectations -
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Silverwood delighted to meet Sri Lankan expectations

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Khel Today Bureau 

Harare: Sri Lanka boss Chris Silverwood hailed the way his side stepped up to meet expectations as they sealed victory in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 final against the Netherlands.

The Lions went unbeaten throughout the Qualifier to seal their place at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 later this year in India before crowning their time in Zimbabwe in style with a comfortable 128-run victory over the Dutch to clinch the overall trophy.

Sri Lanka were heavy favourites ahead of the tournament in Zimbabwe, having been ever-present at ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups, and champions in 1996, and they duly delivered with eight wins from eight to punch their ticket to India with aplomb.

“The first goal was to qualify for the World Cup, which we did and then the next goal was to come here and try and win the final as well, which thankfully we have done,” said Silverwood.

“There was obviously pressure coming into this tournament, expectation from the people at home to qualify for the World Cup, so I think we can go home happy.

“From a personal point of view with the team, our gameplan moving forward we managed to build on that coming out of the Afghan series before this and I think the confidence we have grown and shown in this tournament we can take into a World Cup with us.”

Sri Lanka began their Qualifier campaign in style, winning all four of their group matches before continuing their unbeaten run to finish top of the Super Six standings.

The Lions rounded off their campaign in style, their bowlers impressing once again to rip through the Netherlands’ top order and bowl them out for just 105 chasing 234.

And Silverwood revealed how enthused he was by the performances of young bowlers Dilshan Madushanka (3/18) and Maheesh Theekshanka (4/31) alongside star man Wanindu Hasaranga (2/35).

He added: “We have seen two young bowlers here on show today with immense potential and have big futures ahead of them and equally we have seen the spin bowling department just how strong we are there.

“As a bowling unit, everyone who has taken part has really shone for us.”

Hasaranga ended the tournament as the leading wicket taker with 22, just one more than compatriot Theekshana, and the 25-year-old is confident Sri Lanka’s bowlers can repeat their performances in India this autumn.

“Before we came here, we had a good series against Afghanistan. Our bowlers bowled really well and they carried that momentum into this tournament,” he said.

“We saw when we batted how the wicket was. As a bowling unit, we tried to bowl stump-to-stump and I tried to do the same as well.

“I want to take this momentum into the World Cup in India. Our bowlers have played a lot of games in India in the last two years, and we know how the wickets behave.”

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