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SportsCricketKiwis on threshold of semis after Lanka rout

Kiwis on threshold of semis after Lanka rout



New Zealand virtually guaranteed themselves a place in the semi-finals of the ICC Cup after thrashing Sri Lanka by five wickets at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, in Bengaluru, on Thursday.

They dismissed Sri Lanka for a paltry 171, following superb bowling by pacer Trent Boult, who picked three wickets for 37 runs, and then chased down the target of for the loss of five wickets in 23.2 overs.

Devon Conway top-scored for the Kiwis with 45 while Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra made 43 and 42 respectively.

Boult rediscovered his magic with the new ball and Santner skilfully exploited the slight grip on offer as New Zealand ran through Sri Lanka's batting

Rachin Ravindra hit 3 sixes and as many fours in a blazing 42 off 34 balls.

The result helped them to snap a four-match losing streak.

New Zealand (NRR: +0.743) now have 10 points after completing their league engagements and will in all likelihood join , Australia and South Africa in the last four stage, unless Pakistan or Afghanistan, who are on eight points each, come up with something out of the ordinary in their last matches.

In their final league match, Pakistan (NRR: +0.036) face England on Saturday while Afghanistan (NRR: -0.338) will lock horns with South Africa on Friday.

Opener Kusal Perera scored a breezy 51 off 28 balls after Sri Lanka lost wickets early

Accordingly, they produced a forceful effort through left-arm pacer Boult (3/37) and left-arm spinner Santner (2/22) after electing to field.

Opener Kusal Perera, who was dropped on 1 by stumper Tom Latham off Tim Southee, scored a belligerent 51 off 28 balls, a mere footnote in an otherwise shambolic batting effort.

Boult, however, owned the noon in his inimitable fashion.

The 35-year-old was struggling for rhythm in the last couple of matches, but he revealed his true colours with a bit of nip in the air, jagging the ball around.

After Southee jettisoned Pathum Nissanka, Boult dismissed Sri Lanka's captain Kusal, whose mistimed pull ended up with Rachin Ravindra near square leg, off the first ball of the fifth over.

Three balls later, Boult angled one across in-form Sadeera Samarawickrama, and the indecisive right-hander nibbled it to Latham.

A couple of overs later, Boult trapped Charith Asalanka in front of the wicket with one that came wee bit in to reduce Lanka to 70 for 4.

Angelo Matthews and Dhananjaya de Silva could not negate Santner's accuracy and the deliveries that spun away from them, and perished cheaply, effectively signalling the end of the Lankan fight.

However, while the castle was crumbling around him, Perera played a gem of an innings.

His batting was so reminiscent of his idol, Sanath Jayasuriya – short back-lift and a woodcutter's forearms sending the ball miles away.

But Perera had not made the kind of impact expected of him, making just one fifty against Australia in the tournament and failing to reach double digits in five other innings prior to this day.

The left-hander, who was dropped on 1 by Latham off Tim Southee, was in his element in Bengaluru and creamed the Kiwis bowlers around the park.

He made Southee suffer as well, extracting 18 runs off the pacer's third over, the innings' sixth, through a sequence of 6, 4, 4, 4, 4.

The pick-up six off his feet over long-on and the drive past the point fielder were the standout shots in that series.

Maheesh Theekshana scored 39 not out off 91 balls at the end of the innings to boos Sri Lanka's total.

Perera soon reached his 17th ODI fifty, the second of this World Cup, with another cracking cover drive off returning pacer Lockie Ferguson.

But the fun ended soon as Ferguson had the last laugh – an attempted loft over the covers ended in the hands of Santner.

Ferguson, who pinged Maheesh Theekshana on his arm, returned to rattle the late-order batsmen with his high pace, to add a couple of more wickets.

Theekshana and Dilshan Madhushanke added 43 runs for the final wicket, the highest in the Lankan essay, but Sri Lanka ended up with a vastly under-par total.




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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