England in a virtual quarter-finals against Sri Lanka and need the two points on offer to book a place in semi-finals. Will they do it? Follow the action
Ben Stokes guides England home in a thriller
Unbeaten 42 helps his team book a place in the semis, ending Australia’s campaign
England made a heavy weather of the meagre target, but talismanic Ben Stokes took them to a thrilling four-wicket win with just two balls to spare against Sri Lanka in the final Group 1 contest at a slow-paced Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
England’s victory gave them a spot in the semi-finals after finishing second on the table to New Zealand, which means hosts and defending champions Australia bowed out on run rate. The opening drubbing at the hands of New Zealand must be hurting them as they were not able to better their run rate.
England’s innings also followed that of Sri Lanka, when they lost four wickets after the half-way point. But Ben Stokes once again took the responsibility on his shoulders to take England home with an unbeaten 42 off 36 balls.
England in semi-finals
England pull off a thrilling four-wicket win with just two balls to spare. The victory ended defending champions Australia’s stay in the tournament.
Five runs needed off the last over
Five needed off the last over for England to book their place in the semi-finals. Stokes is on strike.
Match tantalisingly poised
The last match of Group 1 is hanging in balance. Curran, after three dots in the over, loses his wicket off the last ball, trying to score a six over fine leg, only to be caught at the boundary. England need 13 from 12 balls with Stokes at the crease. Joining him is Chris Woakes. England are 129/6. The crucial over to begin. England, Sri Lanka and Australian fans are on the edge.
England in perilous situation
England need to adopt a calm and composed finish to score the required runs. Their batters are succumbing to their haste to reach the target. Book was out to a good caught by bowler Dhananjaya, who completed another catch at long-on to dismiss Livingstone, who had a momentary madness to hit Lahiru Kumara over the boundary. Finally, Moeen Ali too played early to give a sitter to Shanaka off Dhananjaya. It seems difficult to keep the all-round quiet today. From 86/2, England have slipped to 113/5, needing another 30 in 30 balls. Not a tough ask. Sri Lanka were 116/3 at the same stage. The advantage is, Theekshana has one over and the rest of the spinners have finished their quota. It’s again left to Stokes, who need to replicate his Lord’s magic against New Zealand in 50-over World Cup final.
Patience key for England to overhaul target
Two wickets in two overs of Hasaranga has given Sri Lanka some hope, but it is too little for the islanders to defend. Hales fell agonizingly short of his half-century by one run, his sweep ending as simple lob back to the bowler. Hales wicket suggests that the wicket has slowed considerably with the old ball, since the required run rate is not too alarming, England could still adopt a very safe approach. The wicket of Buttler, a stunning catch by Karunaratne at deep-midwicket, has brought Stokes into the crease, who needs to get the required runs with Brook. After 10 overs, England are 86/2 at halfway mark, Sri Lanka were 80/2.
England racing towards the target
Alex Hales and Jos Buttler have had a couple of close shaves, but they have survived the early part of the chase and have kept England firmly in the chase of a paltry target against Sri Lanka on a slow surface, where the medium-pacers are bearing the brunt with the hard new ball. Sri Lanka need wickets and in desperation, their ace spinner Wanindu Hasaranga was brought in during the powerplay. Still, the search continues, but England have raced to 70/0 after six overs, while Sri Lanka were 55/1 at the same stage. Hales has done the maximum damage with 42 off 19 balls.
England comeback strongly to restrict Sri Lanka
England bowlers gave perfect finishing touches to restrict Sri Lanka to an under-par score, 141 for eight, in the final match of the Group 1 at Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
After being carted to the all parts of the park by opener Pathum Nissanka, whose aggressive 67 off 45 balls gave the platform for a big total, Adil Rashid’s economical spell of one for 16 in the crucial middle overs, halted the Sri Lanka’s march.
The untimely wicket of Nissanka in the 16th over meant that two new batters, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and skipper Dhasun Shanaka, had to do the bulk of the work, which they could not on a wicket that is not easy to play the shots straight away.
The pacers took control of the match then and the old ball made it difficult to find their timing for big shots and the singles were not enough carry the momentum. After the 15-over mark, Sri Lanka could not score a single boundary for 22 balls and also lost Shanaka during the phase. In all only two boundaries came in the final five overs, that swung the momentum in England’s favour. From 80 for two in first 10 overs, the final 10 overs only fetched 61, and 25 in the final five.
Sam Curran was another who was economical among the seven bowlers employed by Jos Buttler, while Mark Wood was the most successful with three for 26 in three overs. Going by how the wicket has behaved, it is easier to bat with the new ball and the set batter need to continue for long. However, Sri Lanka will straight away go to their spinners to defend the low total.
Sri Lanka lose Nissanka at crucial stage
Sri Lanka are in prime position to launch the final assault. The last five overs can even fetch 70 runs, which could take the Islanders past the 180-run mark, which should be much higher than the par score. But other than Nissanka, not many could play with such domination. The opener’s exit, after an authoritative 67 off 45 balls, has put Sri Lanka in trouble at the crucial stage. After 16 overs, Sri Lanka are 120/4. The way England spinners have succeeded, Sri Lanka’s spin trio of Hasaranga, Theekshana and Dhananjaya will be eager to get the ball on hand.
Nissanka completes half-century
Nissanka has completed his ninth half-century and continues to find his timing. His presence is important for Sri Lanka, as Aslanka’s wicket and spinners have dragged the Asia Cup champions back in the last five overs, during which only one four and a six have come. Sri Lanka have crossed the psychological 100-run mark in the 13th over. Next couple of overs will set the trend as which way the match is swinging.
Sri Lankans are sitting pretty at half-way stage
Excellent batting by the Sri Lankans. They were brilliant in their approach, mixing caution with aggression, aggressive shots and aggressive running being the key to their innings so far. Nissanka is continuing his assault, despite the advent of the spinners. There is a flip side to this strong position that the Sri Lankans are currently in. As long as he continues, it is fine, but the new batters, like Charith Asalanka, who came in at the fall of Dhananjaya de Silva, will not be able to play in the same fashion. Some stage they need to take the gas off the foot, otherwise there will be a clutch of wickets. But at half-way stage Sri Lankans are sitting pretty at 80/2.
Breezy start by Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan batters, without any pressure on the outcome of the contest, are enjoying every moment and aiming to throw a heavy punch on England and floor them. The openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis showcased their shot-making capabilities right from the time the umpires called play. The slow pitch gave them the chance to take on the express pacers and succeeded in carting them into the stands. Though Mendis left after a good running catch by Livingstone off Woakes, Nissanka is continuing to torment England. After six overs, Sri Lanka are at healthy 55/1. Nissank on 32.
Sri Lanka win toss and elect to bat first
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and elected to bat first against England. The worn out pitch is expected to assist spinners hence the Sri Lankan skipper wants to bowl later. Also teams batting first have won on this ground so far in this World Cup, so they are hoping the record will help them spoil England’s party. Karunaratne comes back into the side for Sri Lanka, replacing Pramod Madushan, While England have retained the squad.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunratne, aheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara.
England: Jos Buttler (capt & wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid.
England should come out trumps over Sri Lanka in must-win clash
By A.K.S. Satish, Sports Editor
Dubai: England are the most well-rounded team in this Twenty20 World Cup with too many match-winners in their tanks. But they are in a difficult situation due to the rain intervention, where they lost a match against Ireland on Duckworth-Lewis Method and then the game against Australia washed out without a ball being bowled.
Now their fate is in their own hands and England must be confident of finishing the job and edge out Australia for the remaining one slot in Group 1, after New Zealand have rightfully earned their place at the top now.
Sydney is known to assist spinners, England have the spinners, but their batting need to negate the famed Sri Lankan spinners to win this contest.
Sri Lanka, the Asia Cup champions, can cause upset on their day and don’t have anything to lose, except play for pride in today’s contest. So they will throw the kitchen sink at England, but the Three Lions are well insulated and have the strength to take the Sri Lanka Lions.