Cardiff: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews blamed his butterfingered fielders for the three-wicket loss against Pakistan which ended their campaign at the ICC Champions Trophy on Monday.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka were allout for 236 but they still managed to put pressure on Pakistan, who were left totterring at 162-7 at one stage. But Sri Lankan fielders dropped Sarfraz Ahmed twice off Lasith Malinga's overs as the Pakistan skipper cracked a match-winning 61 to take his team to the semifinals.
"It was a bit of a funny wicket. We hadn't got the runs on the board but we knew we could defend this. And the bowlers did their job, but we didn't hold on to our catches," he said.
Mathews, however, credited Pakistan for the win."A see-saw kind of a game. Credit should go to Pakistan. They held their nerves and are deserved winners."
The Sri Lankan captain, however, backed his inexperienced team for trying to defend the modest total.
"Proud of the boys. Even though we only had 236 to defend, they gave it their all. Unfortunately, we missed a few chances. In a big tournament like this, they fought hard an inexperienced team. I'm proud of them," he said.
Sarfraz heaped praise on Mohammad Amir for hanging on till the end as they shared a 75-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
"First of all, thanks to the Almighty. I can't believe it. Thanks to Amir, he played really well. I just told him to play his game and not to worry about the score. That if we took it to the 40th over we would win," Sarfraz said.
Sarfraz, who was adjudged Man of the Match, was dropped twice in the 39th and 41st over off Malinga.
"Drop catches are part of the game. Allah helped us and that's why Pakistan won today," he said