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Gilchrist and the weather got together to defeat us
Tom Moody

Two forces got together to defeat us at Barbados on Saturday. One was Adam Gilchrist, and the other was the weather. And while much has been made of the bizarre set of circumstances that forced us to play in the dark, the team and I feel that the matter is of relatively lesser importance when compared to the fact that after nearly two years of preparation and two months of slogging it out in the Caribbean, we did not get to play a full 100-over game, and it chose to rain on the one day that the gods could have left alone.

That is what hurts most, especially since according to the rules, a 20-overs a side game is considered acceptable. So we could easily have had a 20:20 match instead of 38 overs per side. As things stood, we were pretty much on target till about the 15th over, when the darkening sky forced Sanath Jayasuriya to up the ante because he was conscious that we were still about nine runs behind the target should Duckworth-Lewis come into play.

It was never going to be easy maintaining a run chase that demanded that we score around 8 runs an over from the word go, but we had obviously not bargained for the smoking gun called Gilchrist. We would have happily taken a run-a-ball century, which would still have knocked 50 runs off our eventual target, but once again, Gilly’s penchant for the big stage was on show, and ironically, he took everyone by surprise when the experts had been talking about ways and means to control Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting. Only Gilchrist in full flow could have reduced Hayden to playing second fiddle!

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Sadly, the farcical end to the tournament means that quite a few of the finalists have had to bow out under less than glorious circumstances. Among them could be – and I emphasise the word could – Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas, Muthiah Muralitharan, and possibly Gilchrist. Of course, it could hardly have been the perfect farewell match for either Glenn McGrath or Russel Arnold.

What next for Sri Lanka? As I said after the match, we have made quite a lot of progress as a unit in the last couple of years and if we continue to maintain the professionalism that we have displayed at this tournament, there is no reason why Sri Lanka can’t compete on a regular basis with top teams like Australia. Sri Lanka can truly walk away from this World Cup very proud of what it has achieved. It was very hard to get to this point.

As for my own future, the questions are now going to start all over again. My priorities, however, are to go back to Colombo, spend a few days away from the cricket, have a talk with Sri Lanka cricket officials, and only then decide what I want to do. It has been an exhausting time for all of us, and while we are disappointed at not having brought our journey to its best possible conclusion, I think the road ahead for Mahela and his boys has never looked more promising.


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