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We’ve got to guard against complacency - Atapattu

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We’ve got to guard against complacency - Atapattu (AFP)

HOBART: Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu has warned against complacency and advised his team to play their best cricket in their final World Cup Pool A match against associate member Scotland at the Bellerive Oval here on Wednesday.

“You've still got to respect your opponent, respect the good bowlers that come along. If they have a good shot and play their best cricket on the day upsets can still happen,” said Atapattu at the pre-match press conference.

“"We like to take every game seriously, that's the nature of the competition. We want to be on top of things and play our best cricket every time we cross the rope. It'll be no different when we cross the rope tomorrow."

Unlike against most countries Scotland are a team that Sri Lanka has little knowledge of, the two teams having met each other in an ODI only once in 2011 at Edinburgh.

"There's less footage [than normal], for obvious reasons. But we've been fortunate to watch a few games of them playing other opponents [during this tournament]. That's always good," said Atapattu.

"Come the day, you've got to get on the pitch, assess the wicket, start a new game all over again and start from scratch. That's the most important thing. We'll go along, assess the situation and play accordingly.

"Upsets can happen - it's the nature of the competition. All these so-called minnows are not really minnows if you miss a chance, or something like that, it could be the match, so you've got to guard against complacency and play your best cricket."

Sri Lanka has vivid memories of the close call they got against another associate member side Afghanistan earlier in the tournament whom they managed to beat by four wickets but not before a fright.  

Bellerive Oval is where Ireland and Zimbabwe slugged it out four days ago – the match producing 667 runs and it looks like a pitch full of runs.

Sri Lanka has been badly hit by a number of injuries to key players the latest casualty being Dinesh Chandimal who has been forced to return home because of a hamstring injury. Kusal Perera has been included in his place but is unlikely to play tomorrow.

“We're going to keep everybody in contention for selection, at the same time going ahead, and going into the A-team regardless of whoever we choose to play on the day. We just have got to have a rough idea in whom you want to play in the combination. Thinking about that, we'll select inside along with the selectors,” said Atapattu.

Also missing out of tomorrow’s match is left-arm spinner Rangana Herath recovering from a damaged index finger to his bowling hand.  

"We're hoping to get the stitches out by tomorrow, and make an assessment. He's been doing his fitness regime from the day he got injured. He'll start to bowl properly on the 13th when we get to Sydney. That will give him four days before the quarter-final."

The Lankan head coach did not see leaking runs towards the latter stages of the inning as a problem connected only with his team but as a headache for several others as well. In their last match against Australia, Sri Lanka conceded 217 runs in the last 20 overs.

"It's not only been common with us. It's been common with most of the sides even the Australians, who have one of the best attacks," said Atapattu.

"It is the way the format [of the game] has been structured with five [overs] on the powerplay. Then having wickets in hand you basically play one fourth of a Twenty20. If you have wickets in hand it's amazing the runs a team will score.

"It's about executing your skills, knowing your plans. That's what matters it gives you the best chance. It doesn't guarantee you can go for only six runs an over but it will give you the best chance. We'll try and do better in matches to come."

Scotland maybe out of the World Cup but they have not given up hope of beating one of the full member sides before they return home. They wind up their World Cup campaign with a game against Australia at the same venue three days after playing Sri Lanka.

“We had a definite goal of winning at least one game in this World Cup. Something we've not yet been able to do. But looking back at the first four games, we've played some good cricket, some very good cricket at times,” said Scottish skipper Preston Mommsen.

“We know we've not played that good cricket for long enough periods of time to close out games. We've been in a couple of winning positions, and just maybe through lack of experience on playing at this stage, we've not been able to win those games. So we look back, and we're proud of the cricket we've played, but at the moment, we are still excited at the opportunity that the next two game presents.”

The prospect of facing a bowler in the caliber of Lasith Malinga does not frighten the Scots who have received valuable advice from former England cricketer Paul Collingwood who is their coach.

“We've got Paul Collingwood with us who has played a lot of cricket against him. A few of the guys have also played against him. Sri Lanka toured the UK two years ago, and they played us at The Grange in Edinburgh,” said Mommsen. “Collie has a very good kind of worked action in the nets that he is able to kind of throw as Malinga bowls. So that's kind of the way we've simulated his action. Obviously, it's something that's different and something that we've done some fair preparation on. We're expecting to take our time against him. He was pretty devastating against us in Edinburgh, and we can't let that happen again.”

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