Australia's Aaron Finch plays a shot during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Perth Stadium in Perth. Australia won by 7 wickets. Image Credit: AFP

Match summary: Stoinis’s fireworks power Australia to first win

Marcus Stoinis slammed Australia’s fastest half-century (17 balls) in T20 Internationals to take his side to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 21 balls to spare. Victory in the T20 World Cup game didn’t come easily for Australia, who were chasing a target of 158. The Sri Lankan quicks, especially Lahiru Kumara, cranked up the pace, making life difficult for the Australian batters.

After David Warner’s early dismissal, Australian batters targeted the Sri Lankan spinners. Mitch Marsh (18 of 17 balls) started it before Glen Maxwell (23 off 12) took over. Stoinis (59 off 18) lifted it to another level on a day when Sri Lanka’s best spinner Wanindu Hasaranga went for 53 runs from three overs. Stoinis added 69 (25 balls) with a scratchy Adam Finch (31 off 42) as Australia raced to victory with 21 balls to spare.

Earlier, put to bat, Pathum Nissanka (40 off 45 balls) and Charith Asalanka (38 not out, off 27 balls) helped Sri Lanka post 157/6. That was a commendable effort against a fiery attack on a bouncy Perth pitch.

Stoinis leads Australia to victory

Marcus Stoinis (59 of 17 balls) powered Australia to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in a Group 1 game in Perth. He added 69 for the fourth wicket with skipper Adam Finch (31 off 42) to take Australia home.

Stoinis leads Australia’s charge

Marcus Stoinis’s arrival changed the game’s complexion as Australia raced to 126/3 in 15 overs, chasing Sri Lanka’s 157. The return of pacemen brought Sri Lanka back into the game with the wicket of Glenn Maxwell (23 off 12 balls). But Stoinis (34 off 12 balls) steamed away as the spinners returned, taking 19 of a Wanindu Hasaranga over. This match is Australia’s bag as Stoinis continues to lash the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Australia step up scoring against spinners

The Australian strategy seemed simple: attack the Sri Lankan spinners. That has worked as first Mitch Marsh (18) and Glenn Maxwell later tore into leggie Wanindu Hasaranga to steer Australia to 85/2 at the end of 10 overs. The run deluge came after the early overs where the Sri Lankan pacers held sway. Sri Lanka need wickets to peg back Australia, or this match is as good as over

Sri Lankan pacers turn up the heat

Sri Lankan fast bowlers took up the challenge of defending 157 against Australia on a lively Perth wicket with a fiery opening spell. The Australians were 33/1 at the end of the powerplay (6 overs). Despite losing Binura Fernando to injury five balls into the innings, Lahiru Karunaratne and Chamika Karunaratne put the Australian openers on the backfoot. That pressure provided David Warner’s wicket to off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana. A tight finish on the cards.

Midway summary: Nissanka, Asalanka give Sri Lanka a fighting score

Pathum Nissanka (40 off 45 balls) and Charith Asalanka (38 not out, off 27 balls) helped Sri Lanka post 157/6 in a crucial Group 1 game today. That was a commendable effort against a fiery attack on a bouncy Perth pitch.

Asked to bat first, Sri Lanka batters opted for caution against the tight lengths of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. The early loss of Kusal Mendis made them more circumspect, and only Nissanka managed to keep the runs coming. His run-out triggered a collapse, but Asalanka held the innings together.

The left-hander ran into form at the right time for Sri Lanka as they took the attack the Australian bowlers in the slog overs. Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne (14 of 7) added 37 in 18 balls, with 20 coming off the last over from Cummins, to give Sri Lanka a fighting total. They will need early wickets to gain control.

Australia's Matthew Wade takes off the bails to run out Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka (R) during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Perth Stadium in Perth. Image Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka batters collapse

Sri Lanka have collapsed to 120/6 in 17.3 as they chased quick runs against Australia. The early caution gave way to enterprise in the later part of the innings. With the Perth wicket offering pace and bounce, it was difficult to get the bowlers away.

Australian players celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis (right) during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Perth. Image Credit: AFP

Australian bowlers keep a lid on the scoring

Sri Lanka went past 10 overs without much damage, but runs were hard to come by. They were 63/1 at the end of 10 overs, but they have kicked on since then, although they lost Dhananjaya de Silva (26) along the way. Charith Aslanka’s aggression helped push the scoring, but Pathum Nissanka (40) was run out. Sri Lanka are 99/3 in 14 overs and they need score quickly to reach a par score of around 160.

Sri Lanka start cautiously

Sri Lanka have made a sedate start against Australia, scoring 36/1 in the powerplay (6 overs) at the Perth Stadium. Australian pacers Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc bowled tight lines, and Sri Lankan openers found it difficult to get them away. Kusal Mendis fell early to Cummins, and Pathum Nissanka’s efforts to shake the shackles off haven’t yet paid off. What has worked in Sri Lanka’s favour is that they have lost only one wicket. That should help prepare for an assault later on.

Hazlewood with the new ball

Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis open for Sri Lanka. Josh Hazlewood with the new ball for Australia, who are desperately seeking a win here in Perth.

Australia win the toss and bowl first

The teams:

For Australia, Adam Zampa is out with COVID-19 and Ashton Agar replaces him. Pathum Nissanka returns to the Sri Lankan side

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (captain), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar and Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wicketkeeper), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (captain), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Binura Fernando and Lahiru Kumara.

Preview: Aussie power should prevail over Sri Lanka

Shyam A. Krishna, Senior Associate Editor

Australia must win today to remain in contention for the T20 World Cup. A loss to Sri Lanka at the Perth Stadium will leave them at the mercy of other results in Group1. That is not an exciting prospect, particularly when their net run rate dawdles in the negative territory. One of the tournament favourites Australia have been thrust a heavy defeat by trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand. That makes the semifinal race interesting.

The ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 trophy at The Louvre Abu Dhabi ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 that begins tomorrow in UAE and Oman. Image Credit: Twitter / ICC

Sri Lanka, who struggled in Round 1, were emphatic in the Super 12 win over Ireland. In the absence of injured ace paceman Chameera Dushmantha, they must rely on spinners Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana and Dhananjaya de Silva to derail the Aussie batting. Sri Lanka’s middle-order fragility, where the batters are short on runs, could work in Australia’s favour. But don’t write off the Sri Lankans.

Australia are a powerful side, and home conditions should be a big help. So it’s difficult to look beyond an Aussie win