Farbrace hopes Sri Lanka can break knockout-stage jinx

Since Paul Farbrace joined the Sri Lankan cricket set up as an assistant coach under Trevor Bayliss in 2007, the island team has not won a title in a global tournament despite reaching the semifinals or finals on five occasions.

The Englishman, who took over as the chief coach last year after Bayliss’ resignation, hoped Sri Lanka would break the voodoo this time. The Lankans have lost the finals of the last two 50-over World Cups while they were defeated by India in the semifinal of the Champions Trophy last June. In World T20s, they were disappointed twice in the finals – in 2009 and 2012 – while England stopped them in the last-four in the 2010 edition.   
 
“You could look at it that way,” said Farbrace when asked if it was mental block that was causing Lankans’ downfall. “You could also say they’ve done really well in most competitions and got to finals. That’s where teams want to be. We had a big win here in the Asia Cup a few weeks ago.

We beat India and we beat Pakistan twice. That was a big hurdle for the team. So, not only to win it but win it pretty convincingly gave the team a lot of confidence.  We’ve had a lot of very close games in the last two weeks and in the last two months probably. When you win them, the confidence as a side, you believe you can win from anywhere,” he elaborated.

Farbrace also played down the loss to West Indies in the 2012 final. “The simple fact is, that was then and this is now. I’m not going to share our plans with you other than to say that the win against New Zealand (in final group match) was a massive boost for us. We felt that we were 15-20 runs short and our bowling performance showed the fight and the spirit in the team. We come off the back of a magnificent win. NZ were a good side and we managed to beat them pretty convincingly.”

Rangana Herath’s inclusion in place of Ajantha Mendis proved to be a master-stroke for Sri Lanka against New Zealand and the coach said he was happy to have more options to pick from. “It’s a lovely headache to have. We know we’ve got some high quality spin bowlers in our team and it gives us a really good headache. There’s been plenty of discussion and there’ll be plenty more before the coin goes up tomorrow night,” he pointed out.

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