Sri Lanka put one step into the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 while England remained in the hunt after both recorded comfortable wins in Super Eights matches on Saturday.
Sri Lanka thumped the West Indies by nine wickets in a low-scoring match — with the help of their spinners led by Ajantha Mendis (2-12) and Mahela Jayawardene hitting an unbeaten 65 — for the second win in as many matches.
Defending champions England avoided another mishap with a comfortable six-wicket win over New Zealand with Steven Finn taking a career best 3-16 and Luke Wright scoring 76 in a 149-run chase.
England had lost by 15 runs against the West Indies, while Sri Lanka had a Super Over win over New Zealand in their first matches.
Sri Lanka must avoid defeat in their last match against England while the West Indies need to beat the Black Caps with a superior net run-rate — both matches here on Monday — to reach the last four.
In case Sri Lanka lose to England and the West Indies beat New Zealand, it will come down to net run-rate to decide the semi-finalists, with three teams on four points.
New Zealand’s slim chance of reaching the semi-final hinges on Sri Lanka winning their last match and they beat the West Indies big.
Jayawradene and Kumar Sangakkara (39 not out) knocked off the target in just 15.2 overs, as both tamed the Windies spin attack.
“Overall it’s a very good team effort,” Jayawardene said. “When they were going after our bowlers I just kept changing the bowlers and it worked well.”
“They bowled really well to us. We are always a boundary hitting team, but the Sri Lankan bowlers bowled fuller and we didn’t do that enough. Now New Zealand game is a must-win for us,” Jayawardene’s counterpart Darren Sammy added.
Mendis led the Sri Lankan spin attack as West Indies found it hard to score freely in their 20 overs, managing just 129-5.
Marlon Samuels (50) and Dwayne Bravo (40) were the main run-getters, lifting their team through a 65-run third wicket partnership after West Indies lost Chris Gayle (two) and Johnson Charles (12) at the same score of 16.
Samuels hit two sixes and four boundaries during his 35-ball knock before he holed out in the last over.
In England’s win, Wright smashed five sixes and as many boundaries off 43 balls and added 89 for the third wicket with Eoin Morgan (30) to help their team open their Super Eights account.
Wright and Morgan, who hit a four and a six, made sure the defending champions reach the target after losing openers Craig Kieswetter (four) and Alex Hales (22) by the seventh over.
When New Zealand batted James Franklin top-scored with 50 before he was run out in the final over in his team’s total of 148-6.
Franklin hit four boundaries and two sixes off 33 deliveries.
Finn had provided England two early breakthroughs, dismissing Martin Guptill (five) and Brendon McCullum (10) before Franklin and Ross Taylor lifted the innings with a 40-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Australia were to play South Africa while arch-rivals India and Pakistan were to spark up group two in Colombo yesterday.