Razor-sharp Rajapaksa calls for strong Sri Lanka finish
The side are mathematically eliminated from the semi-finals after Friday's fixtures in Adelaide, with a win over Jos Buttler's men only taking them to six points, short of the seven total points needed to sneak into the top two.
But the 31-year-old left-hander stressed the Asia Cup champions still have a point to prove at the campaign, finishing on a high against a highly-regarded side at close to the peak of their powers.
"Regardless of the result of (Friday's) games, it's a matter of playing good cricket in Australia. We have already shown what we are capable of a couple of months back, and it's a strong side," he said.
"Unfortunately not all the results have come our way, but tomorrow's game is quite important to end on a high note. We just want to play good cricket and justify our presence in Australia."
Sri Lanka's campaign almost ended before the Super 12 phase of the event, second-best in all facets against Namibia in the tournament opener, before rallying to beat UAE and the Netherlands to extend their campaign.
The side have been dogged by a spate of injuries, making several squad shuffles in Australia, though the side have rallied to brush off challenges from Afghanistan and Ireland at the event. They also enjoyed the upper hand for extended periods against the tournament hosts, only to be knocked over by a stellar batting effort from Marcus Stoinis in Perth.
A team that surprised many in last year's tournament, Sri Lanka still appear from the outside as a team at the beginning of a long-term push for silverware at ICC events. Just four of the squad members are 30 years or older, and under new coach Chris Silverwood, Rajapaksa feels the team are still learning on the job.
"He's one coach that we've been looking forward to his input, and the input has been quite straightforward and the clarity is there," he said.
"We've been pushed hard. There's no limits with him, so we've been really pushed hard. He just wants us to get better every day, and it's quite simple, as I said before. There's so much clarity, and he's been great, and we'll get better hopefully in the future."
As for secrets from Silverwood on his former English colleagues, Rajapaksa kept the cards close to his chest.
"We have a general strategy, plans for each individual when we play against them. It's just we know the game, and for us as a team, we play a lot of franchise cricket so we know all the players more, and of course Chris has spoken to us. It's just a normal strategy and a general plan for everyone. That's about it," Rajapaksa said.
"Hopefully the result will prepare us by Australia getting beaten by Afghanistan, so that's what we are hoping for, but preparations are just the same."
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