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England confirm semifinal spot and sink Sri Lanka’s hopes

Tuesday 2 November 2021 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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England confirm semifinal spot and sink Sri Lanka’s hopes
England’s Jos Buttler raises his bat after notching his ton off the final ball in his side’s T20 World Cup win over Sri Lanka. 21110111

Another all-round performance by England against Sri Lanka on day 10 has confirmed their spot in the semifinals of the T20 World Cup whereas Sri Lanka will now need a statistical miracle to progress further.

Game 17

England 163 for 4 (Buttler 101*, Morgan 40, Hasaranga 3/21) beat Sri Lanka 137 all out (Hasaranga 34, Moeen 2/15, Rashid 2/19) by 26 runs.

The evening started really well for Sri Lanka. They won the toss and asked England to bat first. They managed to dismiss the dangerous Jason Roy, the world’s number one T20 batter Dawid Malan and the aggressive Jonny Bairstow within the first six overs. At the 10 over mark England were stuck on 47 for 3 and their innings was going nowhere. Last match hero Jos Buttler was still at the crease but even he was finding it tough to push the scoring along on a slow and low Sharjah wicket. Keeping him company was the out of form captain Eoin Morgan. Both Sri Lankan spinners Wanindu Hasaranga (3/21) and Maheesh Theekshana produced a mind boggling display of spin bowling in helpful conditions. But once the spinners finished their spells the Sri Lankan captain was forced to bring back his seamers. The extra pace on the ball seemed to flick a switch and from then on both Buttler and Morgan found their timing and also found the boundary regularly. Buttler is in some rich form at the moment and it is difficult to find new adjectives to describe the beauty of his batting. After AB de Villiers he is a true 360-degree player who can hit the ball for a six from anywhere between point and square leg. Buttler was on 95* with one delivery to go and was offered the gift of a thigh high full toss which he accepted and deposited into the stands to bring up his maiden T20 international hundred. Jos also picked up the man of the match award for scoring the first ton of the tournament. England scored a whopping 116 from the final 10 overs to set Sri Lanka a target of 164 to win in 20 overs.

By the time the Sri Lankan innings started dew had arrived in Sharjah and the English bowlers were not only facing the strong Sri Lankan batting line up but a wet outfield as well. Dew is a bowler’s nightmare. It makes the ball so wet that it starts feeling like a bar of soap in your hand. Fast bowlers struggle to land it in the right spot, there is no swing or seam movement, the spinners struggle to grip it and therefore there is no turn. But despite the odds not being in their favor the English bowlers stuck to their task and they were ably supported by their fielders who threw themselves around and caught everything. There was a brief resistance from the Sri Lankan middle order but wickets at regular intervals meant that England were always in control and won by a comfortable margin of 26 runs. Spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid bowled 7 overs between them conceding just 34 runs and picking up 4 wickets while Chris Jordan continued his good form with the ball picking up 2 for 24 from his 4 overs. With 4 wins from 4 matches England are the first team to book a semifinal spot. Although statistically Sri Lanka still have a chance it will be a miracle if they make it to the semis from here.