Coach Whatmore backs Lanka, says all is not yet lost

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Former champions Sri Lanka woke up on Tuesday still recovering from a stunning World Cup loss to Kenya, but coach Dav Whatmore insisted all was not yet lost. Kenya's shock 53-run win at home in Nairobi on Monday halted the unbeaten run by Sanath Jayasuriya's men in the tournament and threw open the race for the Super Sixes. Five of the seven teams in Group 'B' - South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Kenya - have a chance of taking the three available spots into the next round. The Sri Lankans will have to beat both the West Indies and South Africa in their remaining matches to qualify, a task Whatmore said was difficult but not impossible. "Let's get back to playing cricket and be patient for the next few days to really assess what effect the bad result against Kenya will have on us," Whatmore said. "Its quite simple really. We have to go out there and win our remaining two matches." Whatmore, a former Australian and Lancashire batsman who coached Sri Lanka to the World Cup title in 1996, said he had not lost faith in his team. "There is no room left to move and we have to refocus on our target. But I have complete faith in the boys and am sure they can do it," he said. Until Kenya came along, Sri Lanka was cruising with a 47-run win over New Zealand before making quick work of Canada by nine wickets and Bangladesh by 10. "The big wins in the last two games had not given the middle order any batting and probably the lack of match practice told in the end," the coach said. Copyright AFP 2001

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