By Lee Dolbear
- England advance into the semis
- Both Sri Lanka / South Africa eliminated
- New Zealand cruise past sorry Tigers
DELHI and KOLKATA, INDIA – England win a tense game against holders Sri Lanka to land a spot in the semi finals from Group 1, New Zealand pulverize Bangladesh and keep their 100% record in Group 2.
England won their crucial game against holders Sri Lanka by 10 runs today in Delhi and confirmed themselves as Semi Finalists, the result condemns both Sri Lanka and South Africa out of the tournament who coincidentally face each other on Monday in a now dead rubber.
After Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews won the toss and decided to bowl, this game like many that preceded it had more meanders than the Mississippi.
England lost Alex Hales early in the piece Rangana Herath trapping him leg before without him troubling the scorers but his opening partner Jason Roy did score 42 at a healthy rate to defy the early setback.
Joe Root (25) was looking in pretty tidy nick before Lahiru Thirmanne cupped him off the bowling of Jeffery Vandersay. It was wicket keeper and superb all rounder Jos Buttler who didn’t take any notice that England were only 88/3 after 13 overs. He slammed 66 runs from 37 balls both he and captain Eoin Morgan (22) propelled them to a more than respectable 171/4 from their 20 overs.
It was a very bleak start for the holders Sri Lanka who found themselves 15/4 after just 3 overs David Willey picking up the wickets of Tillakaratne Dilshan (2) and Millinda Siriwardana (7) Chris Jordan being responsible for the wicket of Dinesh Chandimal for 1 caught behind by Buttler.
At this stage the England team looked pretty relaxed about easing into the final 4. It wasn’t that simple skipper Mathews had other ideas as he periodically found the boundary putting away the bad deliveries, this whilst carrying an injury he figured it was easier to stand and deliver.
The problem Mathews had though was some tight bowling by England and wickets falling. Chamara Kapugedera was picked up by Liam Plunkett for 30, Thisara Perera by Jordan (4/28) for 20 the Sussex seamer also had Dasun Shanaka (15) brilliantly caught by Root and Herath (1).
Mathews’ heroics all came to nothing even though he scored a handsome 73 from 54, and England are through to the Semi Finals, the result ending South African interest too.
England skipper Morgan told Sky Sports “It was tighter than we hoped for after a brilliant first six overs. It was a must-win game and we spoke about doing whatever we can to get into the business-end when we can play with freedom. To replicate what we did in 2010 would be fantastic.”
Earlier in Kolkata, Bangladesh were hammered by undefeated New Zealand, the margin being 75 runs.
Stand out batting from skipper Kane Williamson (42) Colin Munro (35) and Ross Taylor helped the Kiwis to post 145/8
The Tigers never got going in reply and were cleaned up all out for 70 with Ish Sodhi (3/21) and Grant Elliott with an economical 3 for 12. The result means New Zealand will definitely finish top of Group 2 and will more than likely face England in the semi finals.
Sundays action takes us to Nagpur (10.30am) Afghanistan v West Indies and the massive winner-takes-all game in Mohali (3pm) India v Australia. The winner of that game grabs the final place in the semis.
So congratulations England, you did it and I can now say you fully deserve it!