England beat Sri Lanka by 4 wickets in their 5th and final super 12 matches at the SCG. The Jos Buttler lead side thanks to this win, have now cemented their place in the semi-finals of the tournament alongside table toppers Sri Lanka from Group 1. England dropped a fantastic performance with the ball and followed it up with a sublime show with the bat to seal the game and bag two crucial points by outplaying Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first at Sydney Cricket Ground. The Sri Lankan side had a good start to their innings as both the openers found some glorious shots early on inside the powerplay. England’s bowlers managed to find their first breakthrough and continued picking up wickets at regular intervals. This however didn’t stop Sri Lanka from scoring briskly thanks to some individual brilliance from Pathum Nissanka.
The right-hander notched up a fine half-century as Sri Lanka reached close to 120 with 5 overs remaining. It was at this point that England made a tremendous comeback with the ball in the death. A score which seemed to be at least 170 with two set batters on strike ended up at just 141/8 in 20 overs. Sri Lanka lost 5 wickets in the last 5 overs for the addition of just 24 runs.
England had a positive start to their run chase with both Vuttlwr and Hales getting the team off to a sublime start. The duo displayed some excellent big hitting with Alex Hales leading the charge. The opening partnership crossed the 50-run mark in no time. Wanindu Hasaranga came to Sri Lanka’s rescue at last as he sent both the batsmen back, but England’s run rate had reached close to 10 by then. It was there onwards that Sri Lanka slowly started their efforts to find their way back into the game.
The batters new into the crease barely managed to find their rhythm and would often end up throwing away their wicket in haste. The middle order seemed totally frail as the run chase became a bit tricky for the batting side towards the later half of the innings. However, Ben Stokes who was well set at one end managed to steer his side home with the lower order batters despite several jolts in form of the falling wickets. England registered the win with 2 balls remaining and 4 balls to spare.
England thus end the super 12 stage with 7 points to its name at a net run rate of +0.473. A higher net run rate than the Aussies means that they finish second in the table ahead of the hosts and thus qualify for the semi-finals. Sri Lanka on the other hand finished with 4 points in 5 matches and thus failed to make it into the top 2. England will now be playing the second semi-final against the Table topper of Group 2 on 10th November.