Colombo: Disappointed Sri Lankan fans criticized their team after they slipped to a World Cup defeat against Pakistan -- even though they only lost by 11 runs and have every chance of reaching the quarter-finals.
Despite high hopes coming into the match, 1996 champions Sri Lanka fell short of Pakistan`s total of 277-7, leaving thousands at a packed R Premadasa stadium in Colombo devastated.
"When you concentrate on advertising and not your game, when you play for yourself and not for the country, the result is not that unexpected," posted a reader, Anuruddha, on website.
"They let us down," media executive Nilantha Rajendra said of yesterday`s defeat. "We could have done much better and I felt some players did not play as a team."
But Sunil Perera, a keen follower of the national team, blamed the home fans for having expectations that were too high.
"We have the potential to win the World Cup, but we need to do a lot more," said Perera. "There is too much hype and many think we had already won even before the tournament opened.”
"That is why this defeat is so difficult for so many to stomach."
Sri Lanka, co-hosting the World Cup with India and Bangladesh, now has one win and one defeat. They beat Canada by 210 runs in their first match.
Before the tournament started, a Sri Lankan newspaper took the unusual step of urging Kumar Sangakkara`s squad not to win the World Cup -- for the greater good of the nation.
"Call me a traitor, a quisling... anything. I don`t want Sri Lanka to be the champions of cricket World Cup 2011," the sports writer of a leading News paper said.
"Want to hang me, come catch me," Russell Palipane wrote.
He suggested that a Sri Lankan victory would be used by politicians to boost their image while government-appointed officials of governing body Sri Lanka Cricket might try to stay on without facing elections.