Weather, but not city, disappointed Sri Lankans

THE Sri Lankan under-19 cricket team did not have the best of weather in Gisborne for their preparation for the world cup, which starts on Saturday.

But manager Mahinda Halangoda, a former Sri Lanka A and B left-arm medium-fast bowler and left-hand batsman, said the players and management enjoyed their time “in a beautiful city”.

The Sri Lankans, who open their under-19 world cup campaign against Ireland in Whangarei on Sunday, were scheduled to play two 50-over games against a Poverty Bay/Northern Districts team.

Rain washed out the first game on Thursday without a ball being bowled, and Friday’s match was abandoned after 14.2 overs.

Saturday’s 40-over game did not start until 2pm and finished in fading light at 8pm, the visitors winning by 74 runs.

“We were disappointed with the weather but that’s something you can’t control,” Halangoda said.

“We’ve been treated superbly by the local cricket assocation people and were able to have a look around Gisborne, which is beautiful.

“Everywhere we went, the people were so friendly. I love the place.

“We stayed at the Emerald Hotel and I was able to walk out on to my balcony every morning and watch people on the river rowing or paddling.”

Halangoda said the under-19 team arrived in New Zealand early to get used to the conditions and wickets.

“Sri Lanka is very hot and humid so it was good for the boys to face different conditions. The Sri Lanka Cricket Board arranged for the team to go into camp for 12 days in Kandi, where we played a couple of games in conditions similar to those of New Zealand.

“The games started at 8.30am when there was a lot of moisture on the wickets, which we expected to be the case in New Zealand.

“We also had five games in Hobart, and we’ve got games against England and Australia in Christchurch ahead of our game against Ireland.”

Halangoda was reluctant to single out individuals but said big things were expected of captain Kamindu Mendis, who bowls right-arm offbreaks and slow left-arm orthodox, and Nipun Dhananjaya, who scored an unbeaten 82 in his side’s 211-5 on Saturday.

“To have any chance of winning the tournament, which is our objective, we need all the players to perform to their potential,” Halangoda said.

The other teams in Sri Lanka’s group are Ireland, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The top two teams in each group go into the knockout stages.

“Two wins should be enough but we’re targeting three,” Halangoda said.

“If we can’t win the tournament, we want to make the semifinals.”

The New Zealand u19 team played their penultimate warm-up match yesterday, beating Zimbabwe by 52 runs at Hagley Park, Christchurch.

Their final warm-up match will be against Papua New Guinea in Christchurch tomorrow.

New Zealand, the defending champions, play their first match in the tournament against the West Indies at Mt Maunganui on Saturday.

Kenya and South Africa are also in their group.

THE Sri Lankan under-19 cricket team did not have the best of weather in Gisborne for their preparation for the world cup, which starts on Saturday.

But manager Mahinda Halangoda, a former Sri Lanka A and B left-arm medium-fast bowler and left-hand batsman, said the players and management enjoyed their time “in a beautiful city”.

The Sri Lankans, who open their under-19 world cup campaign against Ireland in Whangarei on Sunday, were scheduled to play two 50-over games against a Poverty Bay/Northern Districts team.

Rain washed out the first game on Thursday without a ball being bowled, and Friday’s match was abandoned after 14.2 overs.

Saturday’s 40-over game did not start until 2pm and finished in fading light at 8pm, the visitors winning by 74 runs.

“We were disappointed with the weather but that’s something you can’t control,” Halangoda said.

“We’ve been treated superbly by the local cricket assocation people and were able to have a look around Gisborne, which is beautiful.

“Everywhere we went, the people were so friendly. I love the place.

“We stayed at the Emerald Hotel and I was able to walk out on to my balcony every morning and watch people on the river rowing or paddling.”

Halangoda said the under-19 team arrived in New Zealand early to get used to the conditions and wickets.

“Sri Lanka is very hot and humid so it was good for the boys to face different conditions. The Sri Lanka Cricket Board arranged for the team to go into camp for 12 days in Kandi, where we played a couple of games in conditions similar to those of New Zealand.

“The games started at 8.30am when there was a lot of moisture on the wickets, which we expected to be the case in New Zealand.

“We also had five games in Hobart, and we’ve got games against England and Australia in Christchurch ahead of our game against Ireland.”

Halangoda was reluctant to single out individuals but said big things were expected of captain Kamindu Mendis, who bowls right-arm offbreaks and slow left-arm orthodox, and Nipun Dhananjaya, who scored an unbeaten 82 in his side’s 211-5 on Saturday.

“To have any chance of winning the tournament, which is our objective, we need all the players to perform to their potential,” Halangoda said.

The other teams in Sri Lanka’s group are Ireland, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The top two teams in each group go into the knockout stages.

“Two wins should be enough but we’re targeting three,” Halangoda said.

“If we can’t win the tournament, we want to make the semifinals.”

The New Zealand u19 team played their penultimate warm-up match yesterday, beating Zimbabwe by 52 runs at Hagley Park, Christchurch.

Their final warm-up match will be against Papua New Guinea in Christchurch tomorrow.

New Zealand, the defending champions, play their first match in the tournament against the West Indies at Mt Maunganui on Saturday.

Kenya and South Africa are also in their group.

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