BENGALURU: Lahiru Kumara-led pacers decimated England’s batting lineup before sensible half-centuries from Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama led Sri Lanka to a thumping eight-wicket victory in the ICC World Cup 2023.
Set to chase a modest 157, Sri Lanka knocked the winning runs for the loss of two wickets and 146 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka, however, had a contrasting start to their pursuit as they lost two wickets with just 23 runs on the board in the sixth over, courtesy of David Willey’s back-to-back strikes.
The left-arm pacer removed Kusal Perera (4) and Kusal Mendis (11) in the second and sixth over respectively to put Sri Lanka under pressure.
Sadeera Samarawickrama joined Pathum Nissanka at the crease and the pair launched an astounding recovery.
Samarawickrama and Nissanka batted sensibly and scored at a decent rate amid their match-winning 137-run partnership with both scoring half-centuries.
Nissanka top-scored for Sri Lanka with an 83-ball 77, laced up with seven boundaries and two sixes.
Whereas, Samarawickrama smashed seven boundaries and a six on his way to a 54-ball 65.
For England, only David Willey picked up two wickets while the rest of their bowlers went wicketless.
A dominant eight-wicket victory over England lifted Sri Lanka to fifth spot in the ICC World Cup 2023 standings, replacing Pakistan while defending champions sank to the ninth place.
After opting to bat, England raced to 44 runs in the first six overs, however, returning allrounder Angelo Mathews broke the partnership on the third ball of the next over.
Angelo Mathews was drafted into Sri Lanka’s ICC World Cup 2023 squad in place of injured pacer Matheesha Pathirana.
Dawid Malan departed after scoring 25-ball 28, featuring six boundaries.
His opening partner Jonny Bairstow departed in the 14th over after scoring 30 runs with the help of three boundaries.
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Sri Lankan bowlers dominated and kept picking wickets at regular intervals, while Ben Stokes waged a lone battle from the other end and scored an anchoring 43 runs from 73 balls, with the help of six boundaries.
Moeen Ali was the only batter who could support Ben Stokes in a brief 37-run stand for the sixth wicket before Angelo Mathews sent the former back to the pavilion.
Ben Stokes departed in the 31st over at 137-8, and the whole team got bundled out at 156 in the 34th over.
Lahiru Kumara picked three wickets for Sri Lanka, while Angelo Mathews and Kasun Rajitha picked two wickets each.