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Sri Lanka's Chamika Karunaratne leaves the field after being dismissed during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. New Zealand won by 65 runs. Image Credit: AFP

Trent Boult and Glenn Phillips star in New Zealand’s thumping win

Trent Bout and Glenn Phillips starred in New Zealand’s thumping 65-run win over Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup Group 1 contest at Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The left-arm pacer was at his menacing best to claim four wickets with his variable pace and teasing length, giving the batters the chance to go after him and only to come up trumps. Boult finished with figures of 4 for 13 in his four overs as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 102 in 19.3 overs. By the 13th over Sri Lanka had lost eight wickets and it was only time that the match came to a conclusion.

Earlier, Phillips took the match away from Sri Lanka with his calculated assault of 104 off 64 balls. The burly right-hander was lucky to be dropped by Pathum Nissanka when he was 12 and then again by skipper Dasun Shanaka. But Phillips made those dropped chances count and made the Sri Lankans pay dearly for their lapses.

New Zealand gave a masterclass on how to approach the game when they are down and how to tighten the screws when they are in control in a clinical display of batting, bowling and fielding.

Just a week after the Black Caps defeated defending champions Australia, they ran into early trouble at 15 for three by the end of the fourth over. But Phillips and Daryl Mitchell added 84 runs for the fourth wicket in 63 balls.

Phillips turned on the volume at the right time to score his second Twenty20 International century, and his first in the World Cup, to propel New Zealand to 167 for seven in 20 overs. The Kiwis were aided by some sloppy fielding and a defensive approach at a time when the Sri Lankan bowlers should have gone for the kill.

Sri Lankan innings was in stark contrast. None of the batters showed the right temperament and the application to take the chase deep into the match and succumbed playing shots too early on a wicket that assists the bowlers. Barring Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Shanaka none of the batters could get going.

The victory has propelled New Zealand in driving seat on top of the table with five points and probably only a win away from booking their place in the last four.

Sri Lanka inching towards a big loss

It’s all but over for Sri Lanka, who have made a mess of a good start and dug themselves into a hole due to indiscipline, indiscretion and inability. At 82 for eight after 15 overs, skipper Shanaka, who saw wickets falling at the other end, at best could lower the margin of the defeat.

Rajapaksa’s fighting knock ends as woes deepen for Sri Lanka

A budding partnership between Rajapaksa and Shanaka ended prematurely at the stroke of break. The left-hander tried to go over the mid-off and was out caught after a fighting 34. The Sri Lankan batters were in a haste to knock off the runs, but on this wicket one can play the shots with ease after spending considerable time on the wicket. Karunaratne took on Mitchell Santner in his first delivery and pulled the long-hop straight into the hands of Boult at deep midwicket boundary. Experience counts. Not just on the field by also the captaincy. Kane Williamson, the master of many battle of wits, pulled out a stunner by sending Glenn Phillips up the order and the gambit paid off. And after that the Kiwi skipper has been attacking the Sri Lankan batters, knowing well that they must be smarting from the missed chances. A clever play on mindgames. After 10 overs, Sri Lanka are 58 for six.

Sri Lanka desperately need a partnership

Sri Lanka are choking in their chase and in fact it is the New Zealand bowlers who are giving them nothing to score as the Islanders are 24 for four after the six powerplay overs, chasing a target of 168. A lot will depend on Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Chamika Karunaratne to put up a partnership to bring them back on track. It’s not difficult. Going by what happened during New Zealand, the fourth wicket partnership brought them back on track. But the big difference here is the fielding standards. New Zealand are pouncing on everything and not allowing any singles, which makes it difficult to rotate the strike. Boult became the third highest wicket-keeper with five wickets in two matches, the match against Afghanistan was washed out, after dismissing Asalanka.

Sri Lanka’s chase in disarray

Sri Lanka in deep trouble after losing three wickets in the first two overs, Trent Boult striking twice in his fist over to reduce the Islanders to 5 for three. It must have been mentally difficult for Pathum Nissanka to focus on his batting as he must be aware that it was his dropped catch that allowed Phillips to score his century. In his bid to make amends, the Sri Lankan opener tried to give the Islanders a brisk start and played across the line to be leg-before for Tim Southee in the first over.

Mid-innings summary: Glenn Phillips century gives New Zealand a winning total

Glenn Phillips, making the most of the dropped chances, made the Sri Lankans pay for the lapse to torment his rivals with a maiden World Cup century to give the New Zealand a fighting 167 for seven on a rain-affected wicket that is a touch slow and not coming on to the bat.

In that sense, Philips, who has scored about 62 per cent of the total, took his time after struggling to find his timing early in the innings and the Sri Lankans played into his hands with some bad bowling changes and sloppy fielding right through the innings, dropping Phillips twice during this phase. Finally, skipper Dasun Shanaka took the catch to end Phillips innings after he had scored 104 in the final over, but the right-hander had done the damage by then.

Finally a catch was taken by Sri Lanka. It was in Rajitha’s bowling that Mendis took a catch to dismiss Williamson in the last ball of the fourth over, now after 13 overs, Shanaka took the sitter to dismiss the dangerous Jimmy Neesham. But he followed it up with back to back no balls and again let the pressure slip away.

Adding salt to injury, Sri Lanka had to have an extra fielder in the last over, after falling in the overrate.

New Zealand were not the same that turned up against Australia. The loss of early wickets put the Kiwis under tremendous pressure. But after the powerplay, Sri Lanka let the grip slip and Daryl Mitchell, who is back in the squad from a finger injury, joined hands and took advantage of the sloppy fielding to keep the scoreboard moving with an 84-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

But by then Phillips had grown in strength and increased his tempo to complete a well-deserved century and take New Zealand past the 160-run mark. Sri Lanka have the batting firepower and need to play sensibly to get over the target, but the game has certainly swung in New Zealand’s favour.

Sri Lanka to pay the price for defensive approach

Sri Lankan bowers have gone into a defensive mindset when they should have actually attacked the New Zealand batters. Though the runs have been trickling at a good pace, it could prove costly in the last five overs as the set batters could throw their bats at everything and could connect more often than not. The fielding has been sloppy to say the least, apart from dropped catches numerous runs were conceded. Philips has been dropped again by the skipper and now the Islanders are playing with fire. Though Hasaranga broke the 84-run partnership by getting Mitchell bowled, third bowled in the innings so far, still Phillips is a bigger threat and could explode any time. The right hander has been finding the boundaries with ease. Again Williamson should be given credit for bringing in Philips and the move has paid off as he has scored 65 not out. After 15 overs, New Zealand are 102 for four.

Sri Lanka let New Zealand off the hook

Bad captaincy and abysmal fielding by Sri Lanka have allowed the New Zealanders off the hook. Nissanka dropped a sitter at long off Philips when the New Zealander was 12 in the seventh over and now the dashing batter is doing the maximum damage with unbeaten 30. A wicket would have boosted Hasaranga’s morale after the hammering from the previous contest. Bad captaincy, when Philips was struggling against spin, Dasun Shanaka brought the blistering pacer Lahiru Kumara and Chamika Karunaratne, but Philips was at ease against pace. Shanaka should have tried to bowl his spinners more, especially Dhananjaya. After 10 overs, New Zealand are 54 for three.

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Sri Lanka's Chamika Karunaratne appeals for a wicket during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. Image Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka tighten their hold on the contest

Sri Lanka are gaining strength and strangulating the New Zealand pacers with tight bowling, not giving any room to play their shots. In case the Kiwi batters try anything fancy, the net result is a wicket. Skipper Kane Williamson also tried to break the shackles and played away from the body to feather the edge to wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis. After six overs, New Zealand are 25 for three.

Sri Lankans spin a web around Kiwis

The famed Sri Lankan spinners pushed New Zealand on the backfoot by dismissing the openers Finn Allen and Devon Conway, top scorers of the previous contest against Australia, early. They have also created extra pressure by not giving away any runs and after three overs, New Zealand are 11 for two. New Zealand have now pushed the power-hitter Glenn Philips up the order to push the scoring rate on a wicket that is perfectly suited for the Sri Lankan spinners. The move could actually play into the hand of Sri Lanka.

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New Zealand's Finn Allen leaves the field after he was bowled out by Sri Lanka's Maheesh Theekshana during their T20 World Cup match in Sydney, Australia. Image Credit: AP

New Zealand elect to bat first

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has won the toss and elected to bat first, hoping to repeat what they did to the defending champions Australia in the tournament opener last Saturday.

Black Caps have done one change to their side, bringing in Daryl Mitchell for Mark Chapman, while injured Sri Lankan pacer Binura Fernando paves the way for Kasun Rajitha.

Teams are lining up for the National Anthems.

Teams:

New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Kane Williamson (capt.), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara.

Sri Lanka aim to halt Black Caps to move up the table

By A.K.S. Satish, Sports Editor

Dubai: New Zealand, the table-toppers, need to be wary a slip-ups against a tricky Sri Lankan team in the Group 1 clash of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup at Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Sri Lanka, who stunned India and Pakistan en route to their Asia Cup title and also had Australia on the mat before Marcus Stoinis played a blinder of an innings to pull them to victory, are known to raise their game at the right stage.

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New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson (right) shakes hands with Sri Lanka's captain Dasun Shanaka at the toss during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. Image Credit: AFP

New Zealand have the slight edge in the contest, but the rains and the fresh Sydney wicket could be helpful to Sri Lankan spinners, especially Wanindu Hasaranga, who suffered a merciless assault against Australia.

The return of Daryl Mitchell should bolsters the New Zealand batting and the Kiwi pacers could pose a stiff test to the Sri Lankan top order, but the brave Islanders have the capability to play the big shots, as they showed against Australia. Should Sri Lanka win the clash, they could go right up to the top of the table. It is the clash between the Sri Lankan spinners and New Zealand batters. The Sri Lankans should shine under the shiny skies.