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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 11:51 GMT

De Silva still confident
Aravinda De Silva
De Silva passed 9000 one-day runs against Australia
Veteran Aravinda de Silva insists Sri Lanka's poor recent form will count for little in the World Cup.

The 1996 World Cup winners have suffered a poor run-up to the tournament, losing December's one-day series in South Africa 4-1.

And a nine-wicket defeat to Australia on Tuesday ended their involvement in the VB Series, with England joining the hosts in the finals.

Sri Lanka won two of eight matches in the VB Series, beating Australia and England once each.

"It's going to be a totally different ball game on the World Cup tour," De Silva said.

"We won't be playing one opponent all the time - some opponents will be weak and some strong.

De Silva relished his country's under-dog tag - one they overcame to win the title in 1996, thanks to his century in the final.

"If we get to the Super Six and have one or two good days I'm sure we can give teams a good run," he went on.

Sri Lanka open their World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Bloemfontein on 10 February.

To progress to the second round, Sanath Jayasuriya's side must finish in the top three of a group that also includes South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh, Kenya and Canada.

De Silva, who passed 9000 one-day international runs against Australia in Melbourne, has already announced he will retire at the end of the tournament.

"My target was the World Cup and I'm quite happy to be able to play it as my last tour," he added.

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