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Sri Lanka thrash England to enter semis along with West Indies

Pallekele, Oct 1, 2012, (PTI) : 23:28 IST
Lasith Malinga blew away the England top-order by dismissing three batsmen in a single over as Sri Lanka defeated the defending champions by 19 runs in their last Super Eight match to qualify for the semifinals of the World Twenty20 along with the West Indies, here today.

England needed to chase the 170-run target in less than 13 overs to qualify for the semifinals but paceman Malinga's performance (5/31) made it a lop-sided affair.
England ended 150 for nine through a fighting 67-run knock from Samit Patel and and his 51-run stand for the eighth wicket with Greame Swann (34).

Sri Lanka's win pushed England out of the tournament since they had just one win from three Super Eight matches in Group I while the Caribbean side had two.

The West Indies had edged past New Zealand in a thrilling match early in the day to keep themselves in the hunt.

None of the Sri Lanka batsmen played a big knock but they rode on a collective batting effort to reach a competitive 169 for six.

Mahela Jayawardene (42), Angelo Mathews (28) and Jeevan Mendis (18) got good starts but could not convert those into big innings after the hosts were sent in to bat.

Thisra Perera (25 not out) and Lahiru Thirimanne (13) blasted some big shots towards the end to lift the side to a fighting total.

But Malinga's sensational over -- third of the innings -- in which he scalped Luke Wright (13), Jonny Bairstow (2) and Alex Hales (3), took it away from them.

England were reeling at 18 for three in three overs and never recovered from that shock start.

Malinga added wickets of Jos Butler and Patel later in the innings while spinner Akila Dananjaya contributed in the win of his side by dismissing Eoin Morgan (10) and Broad (1).

Broad (3/32) and Swann (2/26) did well for England in the second half of the Lankan innings as both of them got wickets in successive balls to keep the side in hunt.
Interestingly, Kumar Sangakkara led Sri Lanka today in place of regular skipper Jayawardene.

Earlier, of the two pacemen, who opened England's attack, Steven Finn (1/23) was very effective as he swung the ball impressively and had Tillakaratane Dilshan (16) trapped early.

The strip offered bounce to the pacers and Finn, who has bowled the most dot balls in the tournament, did trouble the Sri Lankan openers.

Dilshan and Jayawardene though adjusted well, hitting a six each off Jade Dernbach in the fourth over. He though, was unlucky as Swann had dropped Dilshan in his very first over.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara carried forward the good start but England were not taking the chances their bowlers created as now Bairstow grassed a Sangakkara catch off Swann.

The hosts reached a comfortable 74 for one at half-way mark with Jayawardene contributing 42 of them.

Swann though turned it around for England by dismissing both Jayawarderne and Sangakkara in successive balls.

Eoin Morgan pulled off a splendid catch to send back Jayawardene, whose low and flat shot was well taken in the in midwicket region and Sangakkara was caught behind next ball.

New-man in Jeevan though was hardly perturbed as he swept and then reverse-swept Swann for two consecutive boundaries in the same over. Mathews too started off well by scoring two boundaries of Broad.

The two batsmen hit a six each off Samit Patel as Sri Lanka reached 121 for three in 15 overs.

Broad removed Mendis and Mathews off successive balls to yet again tilt the issue in the favour of his side. But Perera's 16-ball cameo brought Sri Lanka to a respectable total.

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