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Sri Lanka beat England by 19 runs to knock Champions out

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lasith_malingaSri Lanka knocked out reigning champions England from the ICC World T20 with a comfortable 19 run win in the final Group 1 Super Eights match in Pallekele on Monday night. Batting first, the Lankans posted an imposing 169-6 in their 20 overs with their innings built on their ability to continuously attack depsite losing wickets of set batsmen in clumps. England in response had a horrific start and despite a late rally from Samit Patel (67) and Graeme Swann (34), fell 19 runs shy in the end. Lasith Malinga was the star of the show for the Lankans taking 5 wickets, including 3 in his first over to knock the stuffings out of the English chase.

The pressure was on Sri Lanka and England following West Indies win against New Zealand earlier in the day, but the hosts could see the funny side of the situation and sent Kumar Sangakkara out for the toss after Mahela had gone 0-3 in the tournament thus far. The change of 'skipper' failed to change Sri Lanka's fortunes with Stuart Broad winning the toss and inserting Sri Lanka in.

The Lankans got off to a brisk start with Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan racing to 35 in the fifth over before the latter was dismissed for 16 leg before to the in-form Steve Finn. Sri Lanka reached 74-1 at the end of 10 overs with Mahela looking solid in his 40s while Sangakkara was finding his touch out in the middle.

England stormed back into the contest through Graeme Swann, who removed Jayawardene (42) and Sangakkara (13) with consecutive deliveries in the 11th over. Sri Lanka survived the hat-trick ball and instantly started a rebuilding process through Jeevan Mendis and Angelo Mathews, who shared in a 52-run stand for the 4th wicket before the former was dismissed for 18 by the returning England skipper Stuart Broad. It was another double blow for England with Mathews getting bowled next ball for 28 as Sri Lanka slid to 126-5 in the 16th over.

The hat-trick was prevented and Sri Lanka continued to pile on the runs with Lahiru Thirimanne scoring a quick 13 from 7 balls, while Thisara Perera tonked 2 maximums on his way to an unbeaten 26 to guide Sri Lanka to a very competitive 169-6 in their 20 overs. Back in their hotel rooms, the West Indies would no doubt having been rubbing their hands with glee at the half-way stage of the match.

England had a horror start to their innings, with Lasith Malinga taking 3 wickets in his first over, the third of the innings to leave the Poms in trouble at 18-3. Luke Wright had raced away to 12 when Dilshan caught a rocket at point to dismiss England's best batsman of the series. Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales then followed on consecutive deliveries to leave Malinga on a hat-trick. That opportunity didn't arrive for a while though as he was immediately pulled out of the attack. Hales was in particular unfortunate to be given out, leg before, with the ball clearly drifting miles down the leg side.

Samit Patel took charge in the middle and added 55 for the fourth wicket with Eoin Morgan (10) before the little Irishman was trapped leg before by Akila Dananjaya. Jeevan Mendis added to England's woes by bowling Ravi Bopara for 1 with a ball that kept low.

England were to slip deeper into the mire with Jos Buttler (8) and Stuart Broad (1) falling in quick succession to slide to 93-7.

With the match looking as good as over, Graeme Swann provided some late entertainment for the English fans, sharing in a half-century stand with Samit Patel for 8th wicket to keep the game interesting.

With 33 required from 2 overs, Malinga came back and removed Patel for 67 to all but end the contest. 26 from the last over was always going to be unlikely and Nuwan Kulasekara got the job done to see Sri Lanka home by 19 runs.

The win for Sri Lanka sends them through to the semi-finals as Group winners, while West Indies advance as the runner-ups.


Sri Lanka: M Jayawardene, T Dilshan, K Sangakkara (c & wk), A Mathews, J Mendis, L Thirimanne, T Perera, N Kulasekara, A Dananjaya, L Malinga, A Mendis

England: A Hales, L Wright, J Bairstow (wk), E Morgan, J Buttler, R Bopara, S Patel, S Broad (c), G Swann, S Finn, J Dernbach

Mini Scorecard:

Sri Lanka 169-6 (20 overs, 8.45rpo)
M Jayawardene 42 (38) S Broad 3-32
A Mathews 28 (19) G Swann 2-26

England 150-9 (20 overs, 7.5rpo)
S Patel 67 (48) L Malinga 5-31
G Swann 34 (20) A Dananjaya 2-26

Sri Lanka win by 19 runs

File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20