Battered Sri Lanka eye Champions Trophy qualification

Sri Lanka will aim to put the disappointment of their World Cup hammering by India behind them and focus on finishing as high as possible in the table to secure a spot in the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan, assistant coach Naveed Nawaz said.

The 1996 world champions, who came through a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe to reach the showpiece in India, were dismissed for 55 and suffered a 302-run loss to the hosts on Thursday that left them seventh in the table on four points.

The seven highest finishers in the World Cup will join hosts Pakistan in the Champions Trophy.

“It’s going to be important that we finish above the eight to qualify for the Champions Trophy. We’ve got to find a factor to motivate the boys and keep them alive because we had the same issue in June when we played the qualifiers,” Nawaz said.

“So there was no guarantee when we went into Zimbabwe to qualify for the World Cup. We had to win all our games and as well we came to the finals to qualify for this tournament.

“We’ve crossed that barrier and we’ve got a pretty young team. So, we’ll get the boys motivated and see what we can do in the next two games, try and bring out our best cricket.”

India had bundled out the island nation for 50 to seal a 10-wicket victory in the final of the regional Asia Cup in Colombo before the World Cup and Nawaz said Sri Lankan cricket was not in decline although there was cause for concern.

“We’ve got a young group of players. We’ve got only a few guys who have played over 100 one-day internationals in this group,” Nawaz said.

“I think it’s a rebuilding stage where we are, a couple of new players are still learning the trade.

“We have some exciting prospects back home and also in this group, and I hope they’ll take every opportunity to learn from the mistakes and move forward and do well in the future.”

  • World Cup 2023

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