Englang’s Ben Stokes hit a gutsy unbeaten 42 as England reached the T20 World Cup semi-finals on Saturday with a tense four-wicket win over Sri Lanka — and ended Australia’s title defence.
England wanted to win to make the final 4 from Group 1 alongside already certified New Zealand and so they achieved the feat in a nail-biting end with two balls to spare at Sydney Cricket Floor (SCG).
If they’d misplaced, hosts Australia would have gone by way of.
Sri Lanka appeared on observe for a giant whole after they reached 80-2 after 10 overs however the aggressive Pathum Nissanka was out for 67 and the Asian champions crumbled to 141-8, with Mark Wooden taking 3-26.
England raced to 75 with out loss in reply and appeared on observe for a straightforward win. Nevertheless, they collapsed to 111-5 beneath stress from the Sri Lankan spin assault and it went to the wire.
“Didn’t enjoy that match, how close it was,” admitted skipper Jos Buttler.
“We just had to find a way to win that game,” he added.
He additional mentioned, “These situations are built for him [Stokes]. He can play a lot of roles for us in this T20 setup.”
Man-of-the-match Adil Rashid, whose spin saved Sri Lanka’s batsmen at bay, was additionally filled with reward for Take a look at skipper Stokes.
“It was a tight game, it happens in T20 cricket,” he mentioned. “They bowled well and created pressure but Stokes played magnificent so we got over the line,” Rashid added.
The victory was not sufficient to dethrone New Zealand on the prime of the desk with England settling for second and a semi-final in Adelaide. The destiny of Group 2 shall be decided on Sunday.
Sri Lanka’s defeat ended Australia’s stuttering match, with their title defence by no means recovering after shedding closely to New Zealand on the opening day, then having to share the factors with England as a consequence of rain.
“I think the wicket played a part in this game, even the English batters struggled in the second half,” mentioned Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka.
“I think we played good cricket in patches but we had a few injuries which cost us the tournament,” he mentioned.
Sri Lanka — who haven’t overwhelmed England in a T20 since 2014 — gained the toss and requested England to discipline, acutely aware that each one 5 earlier video games on the SCG in the course of the World Cup had been gained by the staff batting first.
Nissanka pulled Stokes for an authoritative six off the second ball and two extra sixes within the third over — off Wooden — signalled their intent.
Nevertheless, the aggressive 39-run opening stand got here to an finish when Kusal Mendis (18) tried one other boundary from Chris Woakes and Liam Livingstone held a catch close to the ropes.
Nissanka saved the runs flowing however his new companion Dhananjaya de Silva (9) slogged at a slower Sam Curran ball and was caught by Stokes.
Sri Lanka reached 80-2 on the midway level however then, Livingstone took a easy catch to take away Charith Asalanka (8).
Nissanka introduced up his second 50 of the match and ninth general, however tight bowling from Rashid slowed the run fee and he finally accounted for Nissanka, who heaved to substitute fielder Chris Jordan at long-on after a 45-ball knock.
Sri Lanka by no means regained momentum, making simply 25 off the final 5 overs.
In reply, Alex Hales and Buttler plundered 70 off the six-over powerplay, smashing 11 boundaries within the course of.
Sri Lanka gave themselves hope when Buttler (28) and Hales (47) have been out within the house of three overs, with the spin of Wanindu Hasaranga accounting for each of them.
Harry Brook (4) shortly adopted, caught and bowled by De Silva, then Livingstone (4) carelessly threw his wicket away with a slog, and Moeen Ali (1) joined them again within the pavilion.
However Stokes saved his cool because the wickets tumbled and steered them into the final 4 alongside Woakes.