Sri Lanka’s match hero of incredible run chase in the T20 World Cup Super 12 match against Bangladesh, Charith Asalanka, said “that playing his natural game was the secret to his match-winning knock.
The 24 year old left hander blasted an unbeaten 80 off just 49 balls to power Sri Lanka past a stiff target of 172 against the Tigers in Sharjah.He struck five sixes and an equal number of boundaries for his match winning knock with a strike rate of 163.26.In fact he equalled the record of most sixes (5) by Sri Lankan batsmen in T 20 World Cup game Angelo Matthews and Jehan Mubarak.
Having come to the fore during the lost home series against South Africa, Asalanka now promises to be one of the stars of the ICC T20 World Cup. He played eight ODI and five T20’s but already proved his abilities and he is going to be an asset to the team. He is always a thinking cricketer and adjust to play his normal game with out any pressure.
He felt the Sharjah pitch was good enough to play his shots from ball one, and his innings reflected that mindset.
A delighted Asalanka said after the match: “It’s happy to score a winning knock for my country. My friends back home will be very happy right now as they always back me. When I faced the first ball, it looked like a good pitch and I backed myself to play my natural game.”
He was also associated in a superb 86 run stand with Bhanuka Rajapaksa for the fifth wicket. The Rajapaksa – Asalanka combination controlled the game to build up the innings while maintaining a good run rate.
Rajapaksa was the first to stick around with Asalanka for a meaningful period of time, stroking 53 off 31 balls to support the man of the match. Asalanka gave credit to Rajapaksa who made a big impact on the run chase “Rajapaksa played a brilliant knock and he changed the momentum. I want to keep it up and look forward to do the same for my country in the upcoming games,” Asalanka added.
The former Richmond College Captain as well as National under 19 Captain has played just five T20 Internationals but he is maturing as a batsman. He always wanted to play for the team and not for himself.
As soon as he left school he joined SSC. He was able to lead the SSC under 23 side and also Sri Lanka emerging team. He proved leadership never gave any pressure to play the game. The stylish left hander is yet to play a test match but does not like to be labelled as a ODI or a T20 player.
Asalanka missed a few matches recently due to a leg injury. He was not among the runs during last England series. When I was not among the runs I always got advice from my coaches and try to correct my mistakes. His aim is to play for the National team for a long period. Entering the National team is very difficult but Asalanka is ready to take up the challenge.
He remembered his coaches from school level to club level and then National level. Withoutt their support I can’t come this journey. His parents always encourage him to go forward. Asalanka hails from Elpitiya started from Elpitiya Ananda MV and entered Richmond College after passing scholarship exam in Grade five. He was lucky to win the Sunday Observer- Mobitel school cricketer award for two consecutive years which is also a real boost to continue his career.