England cricket players subject of cutting accusation after Sri Lanka World Cup defeat

England cricket Sri Lanka

England were poor as they slumped to Sri Lanka defeat at the Cricket World Cup on Thursday

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 27/10/2023

- 09:00

The defending champions are all but out of the competiton

Sri Lanka star Maheesh Theekshana has accused England of underestimating their side following Thursday's Cricket World Cup showdown.

England went into the match knowing defeat would all but end their hopes of defending the crown they won back in 2019.

And Sri Lanka put the defending champions to the sword, winning by eight wickets after dismissing the Three Lions for 156.

It means Jos Buttler and his team-mates are facing an early exit from the competition - something that seemed unfeasible just weeks ago.

Sri Lanka England cricket world cup

Sri Lanka star Maheesh Theekshana has accused England of underestimating his side


And Sri Lanka star Theekshana has taken a jibe at England by suggesting they were too complacent.

“I think they underestimated our team because we also lost three games and we only won against the Netherlands," he said.

“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."

Sri Lanka captain Kusal Mendis also spoke out.

He feels his side deserved the victory, while also insisting his country can dream of making the semi-finals of the competition.

He stated: "I think net run rate going up is good for our team.

"We've done really well, the bowling team did a really good job.

"We have another four games left, I think if we win three games back to back we can make the semi-finals. I think we can do that.

"Kumara did really well today. He's the main fast bowler in Sri Lanka, he bowled really well in his first three overs, he helped us control, I'm really happy.

"Matthews is so experienced, he tells us so many things in the middle.

"He bowled really well. He plays the situation, I'm very lucky to play with him.

"Today we fielded excellently. Everyone did well.

"In the next four matches if everyone does the same thing we'll be more confident of reaching the semi-finals."

While it was joy for Sri Lanka, it was agony for England.

They've been poor at the tournament so far and have looked a shadow of the side that won the competition four years ago.

England captain Jos Buttler has fronted up after his side's defeat.

And he was coy on keeping the captaincy, admitting it was a decision that was out of his hands.

"We're a really good team, done a lot of really good things in the recent past in white-ball cricket, 50-over cricket," he said.

"You get on the plane with high hopes and a belief we can challenge for the title so to sit here now after the three weeks which have been is a shock.

"It's a shock to everyone.


Sri Lanka England cricket world cup

Sri Lanka celebrate their victory over England at the Cricket World Cup on Thursday


"I'll go back to the changing room and look at the players sat there and think, 'how have we got ourselves into this position with the talent and the skill that's in the room?'

"But it's the position we're in, it's the reality of what's happened over the last three weeks.

"It's a huge low point.

"You're always questioning, as captain, how you can get the best out of players and get the team moving in the right direction.

"I have a lot of confidence and belief in myself as a captain and leader - and, first and foremost, as a player.

England cricket

England cricket star Jos Buttler has fronted up after Cricket World Cup defeat


"But if you're asking if I should still be captain of the team, that's a question for the guys above me."

Buttler added: "Obviously incredibly disappointing and incredibly frustrating.

"We're not just losing, we're losing by a long way and playing well short of our best. A huge disappointment.

"It's never for a lack of effort, hard work or preparation. Look around the room, it's not a lack of talent.

"We've got a lot of fantastic cricketers. It's a huge frustration, this tournament has gone nowhere near the way we wanted it to."

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