Sri Lanka stormed into the second round Super Eights with a perfect three-win record with victories over India, Bangladesh and Bermuda and displayed such ability that the team is being talked of potential champions.
"That 1996 side was an amazing team," said Jayawardene.
"They just outplayed everybody. They created new waves in one-day cricket. They did a brilliant job. For us, it is all about just taking one game at a time.
"Things have changed. There are lots of good sides and you can't make any mistakes. For us, it is focus and consistency. That's the most important thing. As long as we do the hard work and keep going - that's the main theme of this team."
Spin king Muttiah Muralitharan also believes it is hard to compare the two sides.
"The teams are nearly similar," he said.
"The 1996 team had a better batting line-up, while we have better bowling now. But ask me after we win this tournament and I'll let you know which team is better."