London: Sri Lanka maintained their consistent run in the ICC tournaments by reaching the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy for the second time since the tournament's inception. The 2011 World Cup runners up beat defending champions Australia by 20 runs at The Oval on Monday to claim the last spot in the final-4.
Australia had to chase down Sri Lanka's 253 for 8 in 29.1 overs to book a place in the semis. Former Sri Lanka skipper and man of the match Mahela Jayawardene says that scenario worked in his side's favour in the end. (Read: Sri Lanka beat Australia, will face India in semis)
"I'm glad the Australians did not go for the regulation win and went for the shot in the semis. Australia always play for a win. That attacking approach of the Australians helped us in the long run as we could pick wickets and go into a winning position," he said after the match. (Match highlights)
Jayawardene, who was one of the architects of Sri Lanka's win with an unbeaten 81-ball 84-run knock, said that players in the side have always enjoyed each other's success and that has been a key factor in this tournament too.
"The spirit in the team is always important factor with us. Enjoying each other's successes has been our key. For me personally, the icing on the cake was winning the match and making it to the semis. It was a good surface to bat on and we knew we had to put the runs on the board as Australians had to chase down the target quickly. We will enjoy our win overnight and refocus our attentions to the game against India, who are playing excellent cricket at the moment," the 36-year-old said.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was also thankful to the fans who supported them in high numbers at the Kennington Oval.
"I have never seen such a huge Sri Lankan contingent at the Oval, loads of thanks to our fans. Our first aim was to reach the semis and we did it. Lot of credit has to go to Mahela and Lahiru Thirimanne, who batted sensibly for us," Mathews said at the post-match presentation ceremony.