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Since 1st March, 1999
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‘We’ve got only ourselves to blame’
Thought we’d do better than this, says Carl Hooper

Cape Town: West Indies captain Carl Hooper said his team only had themselves to blame for their almost certain early World Cup exit. While the former world champions still have a slight chance of making the Super Sixes if they win their final game against Kenya and other results go their way, Hooper said their six-run loss to Sri Lanka on Friday was effectively the end of the road.

“At the beginning of the day it was in our hands but at the end of the day, we lost it so basically, that’s it, we’re out,” he said. “It was close in the end but a miss is as near as a mile.”

After beating South Africa in the opening match of the tournament, West Indies lost to New Zealand and missed out on two valuable points when their match against Group B minnows Bangladesh was washed out.

They recovered to beat Canada but their defeat by Sri Lanka means they are likely to finish short on the points table. While the extra points they would have almost certainly have got against Bangladesh have come back to haunt them, Hooper said that was not an excuse for the team’s poor showing. “We’re very disappointed but you can’t really put these sort of things into words. I honestly thought we’d do much better than this,” he said. “To be knocked out in this manner is hard but cricket’s about life and you just have to take it.”

Hooper also refused to blame the toss on the outcome of Friday’s day-nighter at Newlands. While history was on Sri Lanka’s side from the moment Sanath Jayasuriya called correctly and opted to bat first, the West Indies still had the chance to win. They restricted Sri Lanka to 228 for six but finished agonisingly short at 222 for nine when they ran out of overs. “ I don’t think batting in the evening was a factor, we just batted poorly today,” Hooper said.

“I thought we should have got 228 but we didn’t come through. We lost wickets at valuable times and no-one did we needed someone to stick around which didn’t happen.”

It’s a big relief: Jayasuriya

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s captain Sanath Jayasuriya said he was always confident his team would bounce back from their shock loss to Kenya. “It is a big relief for us, especially after the disappointing result in Nairobi,” Jayasuriya told a news conference. “We didn’t do well in the last match so there was a lot of pressure on us. It was a big match, there was a lot of pressure, but we played well.”

Sri Lanka briefly looked to be in trouble but they picked up wickets at vital stages to restrict West Indies to 222 for nine. “When we got 228 we thought it was good total with our bowlers,” Jayasuriya said. “We lost a few early wickets which stopped us getting more runs but we thought it was enough.”

A defeat by the West Indies would have left Sri Lanka needing to beat South Africa in their final group game to make the next stage but they will now probably make it even if they lose to the hosts. “That is a good situation for us now but we need to beat South Africa as well because it will help us in the Super Sixes,” Jayasuriya said. (Reuters)

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