|< Prev||Next >|
A clinical bowling performance by England followed by some reassuring batting was enough to clinch a resounding seven wicket victory over the hapless Sri Lankans at St. Lucia in the first semi-final of the ICC World T20. Some superb bowling led by Stuart Broad restricted the Lankans to a below par 128/6 before the openers got England off to a flying start in pursuit of the modest total. Kevin Pietersen, returning after the birth of his first child, provided the icing on the cake with a brisk unbeaten 42 as England reached their first finals in an ICC event since 2004.
Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and surprisingly elected to bat on a damp pitch. Both sides made expected changes to their squad, with Sri Lanka bringing in Ajantha Mendis while England welcomed back the prolific Kevin Pietersen who made it back from England just in time for the semi-final.
Mahela Jayawardene started off with an easy clip for four off Tim Bresnan but the bowler soon got back to his frugal ways to give away only 3 runs off the next five deliveries. Ryan Sidebottom then produced the first wicket of the innings, inducing an outside edge off Sanath Jayasuriya of his first ball of the game as the â€˜Matara Marauder' ended his wretched campaign on a sad note.
Tillakaratne Dilshan was in no mood to settle down though, and after a mad slap through the covers off Sidebottom, he mauled another boundary off Tim Bresnan in the next over. He tried a hook off Bresnan in the same over, but could only top edge it as Luke Wright completed a brilliant diving catch to send back the dangerous Dilshan as Sri Lanka was reduced to 20/2.
Kumar Sangakkara began with a beautifully driven boundary as once again a wicket was followed by a four but when the in-form Jayawardene was dismissed off Broad's first ball, Sri Lanka was well and truly on the back foot. Broad came up with a superb rising delivery first up, as Jayawardene couldn't do much but nick it on its way to Kieswetter who gleefully accepted the offering to leave Lanka wobbling at 26/3.
Sri Lanka reached the powerplay overs at 38/3 and with spin introduced at both ends thereafter, the run rate dipped even further. Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy gave away only 9 runs off the first three overs and the pressure finally took its toll as the Lankan skipper was caught by Pietersen at long-on, his attempt at sending Swann out of the ground failing miserably.
Angelo Mathews, the only Lankan batsman to put up a semblance of a fight against the spinners, cut Yardy for a boundary before taking a six of a rare bad delivery from Swann. Chamara Kapugedera gave him company for a while, taking boundaries off Yardy and Sidebottom, before he perished off Broad for a laborious 16 off 27 deliveries. Tim Bresnan then bowled a rare poor 18th over, to give away 3 wides and allow Mathews to complete his fifty in the process, as Sri Lanka brought up their hundred as well.
Broad and Sidebottom didn't let things slip out of the hands though, as only 15 runs came in the last two overs, and thanks to a well made 58 from Mathews, Sri Lanka finished with a barely respectable 128/6.
The only way Sri Lanka would have defended 128 was by bowling England out and Sangakkara unleashed the Lankan spin attack on the English openers, in a bid to rob the innings off early momentum. After a surprise start from Dilshan, Mendis was brought into the attack as the openers managed only 6 runs in the first two overs.
Kieswetter though, has been in cracking form all through the tournament, and he made it count by taking Suraj Randiv for successive boundaries in the third over to release the pressure. Another lucky edge off Mathews followed by a meaty shot past the bowlers head resulted in a 14-run over and England were off the blocks in style, dismissing any thoughts of an early stutter. In between the two shots, Kieswetter also found time to be lucky to have survived what looked like a plumb lbw shout even as the ball raced away for four extras.
Lumb, looking circumspect all this while, joined the party and produced a productive chip to send Lasith Malinga to the ropes. He should have been run-out in the next over, only for Mendis to fumble the return throw. Kieswetter then punished the bowler further with two fours off consecutive deliveries.
Jayasuriya came in to bowl the 8th over, and with both batsmen smashing him for sixes, it turned out to be his only over of the innings as the Englishmen looked to close out the game in quick time. Kieswetter was finally castled by Malinga for 39, but the equation had fallen to pedestrian proportions by then, and with a happy Kevin Pietersen returning to the squad, it was never going to be defendable for Sri Lanka.
Lumb should have been out atleast twice in the same over, but the generous Lankans fluffed both a catch and a run-out chance to let him hit two more boundaries before he finally succumbed to Thissara Perera for well made 33. It was all Pietersen from then on, as the batsman continued his imperious form in the tournament with some clean, destructive strikes to the fence. He began with a six off Randiv that almost went out of the ground and was especially harsh on Malinga, finishing the game with a flicked six and a boundary.
England chased down the target with exactly four overs to spare, in the process scoring one of their most emphatic victories of the tournament. â€˜Clinical' is not a word you generally associate with the Englishmen, but Collingwood's England is looking more and more dangerous as the tournament goes on. They look totally settled as a unit, with every one of their players extremely sure of their respective roles and their wins in turn have a comforting effortlessness about them.
Australia or Pakistan, it is without doubt that a red-hot England would provide a mighty challenge to either of them.
Sri Lanka: 128/6 (20 overs, 6.40 rpo)
Mathews 58 (45) Â Â Â Â Â Â Broad 2/21
Sangakkara 16 (19) Â Â Â Swann 1/20
England: 132/3 (16 overs, 8.25 rpo)
Pietersen 42* (26) Â Â Â Â Perera 2/19
Kieswetter 39 (29) Â Â Â Â Malinga 1/33
File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20
This article is an exclusive copyright of the TheSportsCampus.com and permission to reproduce the same has not been granted.
- 17/05/2010 21:34 - Twenty20 World Cup All Star XI
- 16/05/2010 23:53 - England hammer Australia in World T20 Final to lift maiden ICC crown
- 15/05/2010 00:55 - Super Hussey leads Australia to unbelievable semi-final win against Pakistan