Sri Lanka sent defending champions England packing at the World Twenty20 as they reached the semi-finals along with the West Indies after a dramatic night of action on Monday.
Sri Lanka’s 19-run win over England, thanks in large part to Lasith Malinga’s career-best 5-31, put the hosts into their third successive World Twenty20 semi-finals as they hunt their first major title in 16 years.
Earlier, the West Indies snatched victory from New Zealand in a thrilling “super over” finish after they were tied on 139. Despite New Zealand’s 17 off their extra over, the West Indies smashed 19 with a ball to spare.
England’s reshuffled team may regret sending Sri Lanka in to bat after the hosts posted a challenging 169-6. In reply, at a packed Pallekele Stadium, England managed 150-9 and only briefly threatened to pull off an unlikely win.
The chase was in trouble from the start as England were rocked by Malinga, who took the first three wickets in his first over.
It needed a fourth-wicket stand of 55 between Samit Patel (67) and Eoin Morgan (10) to repair the early damage, but England lost wickets at regular intervals.
Patel added 51 with Graeme Swann (34) for the eighth wicket as hope fluttered, but Malinga bowled Patel in the penultimate over to snuff out the danger and improve on his previous best of 3-12 against New Zealand in 2010.
“The guys played really well. Lasith is unbelievable, both with the new ball and with the old ball. It would be fantastic if we can win it [the title], but the focus is to keep our feet on the ground,” Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said.
In the earlier match, New Zealand started with a bang as they bowled out the West Indies for just 139 in 19.3 overs, with Tim Southee (3-21) and Doug Bracewell (3-31) doing the damage. Chris Gayle’s 30 was the innings’ top score.
Ross Taylor was the mainstay of New Zealand’s reply with an unbeaten 62, but with New Zealand needing 14 off the last over, bowled by Marlon Samuels, Taylor hit a six off the fourth delivery, but managed just a single off the penultimate ball.
Bracewell hit the final delivery, but was run out while taking a second run, tying the match as New Zealand closed on 139-7.
Taylor scored an impressive 17 for New Zealand in their super over off the bowling of Samuels, but the all-rounder then stepped up for the West Indies to hoist the winning six off Southee.
“Samuels is my go-to man in pressure situations, he’s suffering from a bad shoulder, so that’s why he doesn’t bowl more,” West Indies captain Darren Sammy said. “It was a great fight back and I am very happy at that.”
A disappointed Taylor rued New Zealand’s missed opportunity — but admitted that the West Indies’ super over was “pretty awesome.”
“We probably should have won it in normal time. Credit to West Indies, to score 18 off five balls is pretty awesome. When the first ball is a no-ball that goes for six, it ruins the over,” Taylor said. “That’s cricket and we’re going home now.”
The semi-finals will be played tomorrow and Friday, while the final is scheduled for Sunday.