England reach WT20 semis; Sri Lanka, South Africa eliminated
New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) England eliminated Sri Lanka and South Africa with a 10-run win over the Asian team in the World Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Saturday.
With this win, England have six points from four Group 1 games, while the West Indies are also through to the semi-finals with three wins from as many matches.
Defending champions Sri Lanka and South Africa have two points each. They face each other on Monday here in their final group stage match that will bear no significance in the race to the semi-finals.
In the match, asked to bat, Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 37-ball 66-run blitzkrieg lifted England to 171 for four. England’s top-order batsmen Jason Roy (42) and Joe Root (25) shared a 61-run stand for the second wicket. But they were not able to score freely as England lost their third wicket for 88 runs in 12.5 overs.
But the partnership between Buttler and Eoin Morgan (22) gave them the spark they needed in the must-win game. Buttler scored his eighth T20I fifty. Buttler hit eight fours and two sixes as he and Morgan registered a 74-run stand in just 6.3 overs. Due to their mayhem, England collected 106 runs in the final 10 overs.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost four wickets inside three overs but captain Angelo Mathews (73 not out in 54 deliveries) and Chamara Kapugedera did a rescue act with a 80-run stand. Mathews nearly took his side near but he ran out of support as the islanders fell short by 10 runs.
Earlier, veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath trapped Alex Hales (0) in front of the wicket in the second over of the innings. But Jason Roy and Joe Root (25) handled the pressure exerted by Herath and leg-spinner Jefferey Vandersay. They mixed caution with aggression as England were 65/1 after 10 overs.
In the first ball of the 11th over bowled by Vandersay, Root was caught at deep midwicket by Lahiru Thirimanne, ending the 61-run second-wicket stand. The wicket dented England to a greater extent as the partnership was just looking threatening for Sri Lanka.
Vandersay struck again in the 13th over as he got a leg before wicket (LBW) decision against opening batsman Roy, who was guilty of playing the ball across the line. Roy scored 42 in 39 deliveries. His innings included three fours and two sixes.
Later, captain Morgan and Buttler played quickfire knocks, scoring the bulk of the runs against pacers Thisara Perera, Dushmantha Chameera and Dasun Shanaka.
Buttler was especially harsh on Chameera, hitting the right-armer for two sixes and two fours in his final two overs. Shanaka conceded 15 runs in an over, as they undid the good work done by the spinners.
In reply, Sri Lanka crumbled from the beginning. Dinesh Chandimal (1), Tilakaratne Dilshan (2), Milinda Siriwardana (3) and Lahiru Thirimanne (3) lost their wickets inside the first three overs with the team’s total at 15.
Left-arm pacer David Willey accounted for Dilshan and Siriwardana, while Chris Jordan dismissed Chandimal, while Thirimanne ran himself out following a miscommunication with his captain Angelo Mathews.
However, Mathews and Kapugedera (30) gave them some hopes as they forged a 80-run stand for the fifth wicket. But after Kapugedera’s wicket — holed out at deep square-leg by Ben Stokes off pacer Liam Plunkett — the hope fizzled away.
Thereafter, Sri Lanka needed 77 from seven overs with five wickets in hand. Mathews continued his assault against spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid to keep the chase alive.
Later, all-rounder Thisara Perera scored an 11-ball 20 as Sri Lanka got nearer to the English total. However, his wicket in the 17th over left Sri Lanka with 35 runs to get from 3.2 overs.
Later, with 22 runs required off two overs, Jordan removed Chanaka (15 off 9) and Herath (1) as Sri Lanka required 15 off the final over. Pacer Stokes conceded just four runs, to facilitate the 10-run victory.
Brief scores: England: 171/4 (Jos Buttler not out 66, Jason Roy 42; Jefferey Vandersay 2/26, Rangana Herath 1/27) against Sri Lanka: 161/8 (Angelo Mathews not out 73; Chris Jordan 4/28, David Willey 2/26).
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