182 was below par: Mathews

Angelo, can you please sum up the match for us? Nothing seemed to be going right from the morning. You lost Chandimal; you lost the toss; there were injuries; can you please sum up the match for us?
Yeah, it was a bad day, obviously. Dinesh Chandimal was not fit. He was not fit, and the toss was very vital, I thought. The wicket was swinging and seaming, so the batters were finding it hard to time the ball, especially with the two new balls. It was not coming on. It was a bit too paced and it had a bit of lateral movement. Also to add salt to the wound, Dilshan’s injury. He was batting so well, and unfortunately, he got injured. So, yeah to sum it up, it was a bad day at the office.

Angelo, as has often happened in this tournament, when the Indians were batting, it seemed to be easier to bat on. Was it down to the quality of the batting or perhaps the quality of the bowling? 
I thought most of the pitches, wherever we played, got easier batting second. You know, you’re at The Oval, when we played against Australia it was slow and not coming on like it was easier to bat on in the second half. But, yeah, I would say there was a bit of help for the bowler, so the credit should go to the Indian bowlers. They bowled extremely well, and they hit the good areas, and it was difficult for us, for the batters to move on.

And when the Indians batted, I just want you to — were the conditions a factor? 
It got a bit easier, but I thought 182 was just below par. 182 was nothing on that wicket. It got easier, and with the Indian batting lineup, at least 250 would have been a good score on that.

Angelo, not getting enough runs in the powerplays, be it the first ten overs or the main batting powerplay, was that the main reason for getting a low score? 
Initially I thought the first 10 overs we had to bat through; it was kind of a Test match batting because it was not coming on, and it was not easy for the batsmen. I thought as soon as we started the powerplay, we lost Mahela, so we had to sort of rebuild once again. So we lost wickets at regular intervals so we couldn’t really gather momentum at all.

Angelo, do you think a semifinal win is a good result for you, given you played some good cricket but made some mistakes as well? 
Well, we can’t be happy, you know? Our main objective was to get to the semi-finals, but I thought from there we wanted to kick on to the finals. But we just wanted to take one game at a time, and today was a bad day at the office. But the credit should go to the whole team, the way they showed their character in the second and third games after losing to New Zealand. We had to do it the hard way, and the boys, you know, rose up to the occasion. So, all credit should go to the whole team.

You’ve played both India and England. Who do you expect to win the final on Sunday? 
Well, that’s a bit of a tough. Both teams are quite even. But on that day, whoever does less mistakes will win the game.

Angelo, we have spoken about this before. Lasith was sensational defending a low score against New Zealand, but against India it doesn’t seem to be coming off. Why do you think he always struggles against India? 
Today I thought Lasith was very effective with the new ball, and also when its reversing he is very effective. But today it was cold, the boys couldn’t really grip the ball, so it wasn’t ‑‑ there was no reverse swing. So it was coming on pretty well. So I thought, not that he bowled bad, but unfortunately, the conditions also didn’t help us. But it’s no excuse. We didn’t get enough runs on the board.

Angelo, what do you make of this new Indian team now especially after the way they adapted to the conditions so well today? 
Yeah, they’ve been unbeaten so far, and they’ve been playing some really good cricket. We all know they’re the current world champions and they’ve played some really good cricket. They play their own brand and they’re quite good at it. You know, it’s very tough to go head‑to‑head with them. You need to gear up all the time. You can’t really put your guard off the pedal. Yeah, they’ve been really good.  Yeah, good luck to them.

For the last ten big tournaments of ICC or T20, Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka won 7 out of 10 or 8 out of 11 – one of those stats. So, one, should you be happy that you’ve reached at least the semi-finals ten times, or are you disappointed that you have not won a cup? How do you view it? 
Yeah, definitely disappointed and the whole nation is disappointed. But I’m pretty sure the whole nation and the team is also quite happy that we reached the semi-finals, because it is the best eight teams and we competed against the best. So we got to the final four, but unfortunately, once again, we choked in the semi-finals against India. So, bad luck to the boys.

Angelo, couple of times in the match some protestors managed to get on the ground? Is it a concern that so many of them in the second instance managed to get so close to you guys and so close to the middle of the track? Is that a concern? 
Not really. I mean, we as cricketers are not really bothered of what’s happening around. I think it was a bit unfortunate there was a bit of reaction today after The Oval game. Yeah, it’s unfortunate, but I can’t really comment on that.

You said you choked. Do you think there was a mental side or a mental sort of side to the loss today, or do you think it was just purely being outplayed? 
Not really. I mean, we’ve had ‑‑ we knew we had to play some really good cricket to beat India, and we planned out all the strategies. But, unfortunately, I thought the toss was very crucial. The wicket was seaming, and there was a bit of lateral movement. So, yeah, 182, I mean, you can’t really ‑‑ against the Indian batting lineup and the wicket got all the easier in the second half, so 182 was never enough on that wicket. It was not the mental side of it, but India tends to play well against us, so can’t really figure out what’s going on.

(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)