Sri Lanka cruise to semis spot

Sri Lanka cruise to semis spot

Sri Lanka 119 all out (Trent Boult 3-20, Jimmy Neesham 3-22, Mitchell McClenaghan 2-24) beat New Zealand 60 (Kane Williamson 42, Rangana Herath 5-3, Sacithra Senanayake 2-3) by 59 runs.

Sri Lanka has grabbed the last semifinals spot from group one at the World Twenty20 after a comprehensive victory over the BLACKCAPS in Chittagong.


After restricting Sri Lanka to 119 with some fine bowling from the pace trio of Trent Boult, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell McClenaghan, the Kiwis could only manage 60 in reply thanks to a five wicket bag from spinner Rangana Herath.



The match began with a chance in the first over when Kusal Perera flicked Kyle Mills to the mid-wicket boundary, where Neesham lept miles into the air but couldn't quite drag it in.


Sri Lanka were looking dangerous until Boult struck with his fifth ball, getting Perera with a leg side strangle for 16. Boult repeated the trick in his second over when Tillakaratne Dilshan attempted his famous scoop but could only flick it straight in the air to Luke Ronchi, and he was on his way for eight.


Corey Anderson gave away only one run from his first over, before Boult struck again to get dangerman Kumar Sangakkara for just four, caught at mid-on by Anderson.


McClenagan almost had a wicket in his first but Nathan McCullum couldn't hang on to a tough chance. The BLACKCAPS were so confident at this stage they had two slips in place, a rarity in the power-play in T20 cricket.


What followed was a remarkable spell of seam bowling from McClenaghan and Anderson that really put the screws on the Sri Lankan run rate. Neesham reaped the rewards with his first ball, getting Lahiru Thirimanne to sky one to third man where Martin Guptill dragged it in. Sri Lanka were 65-4 at the 12 over mark.


Nathan McCullum came into the attack and rattled through his first for just four runs. He struck in his second, bowling Mahela Jayawardene around his legs for 25, when he looked set. From there, McClenaghan, Mills and Neesham kept the score down and kept taking wickets, with the latter bowling Lasith Malinga with four balls left to dismiss Sri Lanka for 119.


Williamson and Martin Guptill set about the run-a-ball chase steadily, but things got off to a bad start when Guptill was run out after a mix up in the fourth over. It got worse when Brendon McCullum was stumped from Rangana Herath for a duck.


Ross Taylor also looked rattled by the spin of Herath, and he was lbw for a duck after facing five balls. He was followed next ball by Neesham for another duck. Williamson survived his hat trick ball an over later, but Luke Ronchi was trapped shortly afterwards for two.


Nathan McCullum holed out to short mid-wicket for two, and Kyle Mills was only able to stick with Williamson for nine balls before going lbw to Sachithra Senanayake for four attempting to sweep.


Needing 60 more to win, Williamson and his new partner Trent Boult had a terrible mix-up running for two and Williamson was gone for 42 – and with it so were New Zealand’s chances of victory. And to make matters worse, Anderson, with a dislocated finger, was not able to bat.


Boult went two balls later and the match was all over – Sri Lanka cruising to a 59-run win and with it a place in the semifinals.


Meanwhile the BLACKCAPS will return home ruing a disappointing batting effort after keeping the Sri Lankans to a miserly 119 runs.


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