England stroll into title round

Collingwoods men defeat last editions runners-up Sri Lanka by seven wickets

England stroll into title round

Got him!: England paceman Ryan Sidebottom (left) and Luke Wright celebrates after getting rid of Sri Lankan opener  Sanath Jayasuriya in the first semifinal of the World T20 at Gros Islet on Thursday. AFP

After a disciplined performance from their bowlers, England batsmen made short work of a modest 128 for six by Sri Lanka replying with 132 for three in 16 overs. Only all-rounder Angelo Mathews showed some stomach for fight compiling a 45-ball 58 (5x4, 1x6) that formed the backbone of Lankan innings. With this win, England make the final of a major ICC event after they lost the title match to the West Indies in the 2000 Champions Trophy in their own den. England will now fly to Barbados where they will await the winner of the match between Australia and Pakistan on Friday. The final is scheduled at Bridgetown on Sunday.

With the pitch playing slow, Lankan spinners were expected to prove handy, but England openers Craig Kieswetter (39, 29b, 5x4, 2x6) and Michael Lumb (33, 26b, 4x4, 1x6) provided the perfect start with a 68-run opening stand in a matter of 8.1 overs to ward off any butterflies in the stomach. With Kevin Pietersen (42, 26b, 3x4, 2x6) resuming from where he had left, England had few problems in surmounting the total. 

Lankan ploy to unleash mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis came unstuck as English batsmen played his overs with caution but without much trouble. Dropped catches and missed run outs too didn’t help the Lankan cause as their dreams of a second World T20 final in as many years came crashing down to earth.    

 Kumar Sangakkara’s decision to bat first was always fraught with danger. There was movement for the seamers and turn for the spinners, and England bowlers exploited the conditions to the hilt. Mahela Jayawardene began by clipping the first ball of the innings from Tim Bresnan to the fence, but that hardly indicated the events to follow.

Ryan Sidebottom struck in the first ball he bowled dismissing an woefully out of sorts Sanath Jayasuriya while Tillakaratne Dilshan’s intended hook took the top-edge and put Luke Wright in business. At 20 for 2, Lanka were looking for Jayawardene, who had had two low scores against his name in the last two matches, to fire but Stuart Broad accounted for the right-hander off his first ball. It was a perfect delivery that kissed the edge of an uncertain prod and Kieswetter made little fuss of simple offer and Lanka struggled to 38 for 3 after the six Power Play overs.

If England pacemen put Lankan batsmen on the backfoot, the spinners, off-spinner Graeme Swann and left-armer Michael Yardy, pulled them down with miserly spells. Between the two they had conceded just nine runs from three overs when Sangakkara came down the track to Swann only to hole out to Pietersen at mid-off.

Mathews looked to be in the zone cutting and driving the slow bowlers, but the reintroduction of pacemen put a brake on the flow of runs once again. England’s use of the slow bouncer was an object lesson, especially from Sidebottom. Chamara Kapugedera’s repeated attempts to pull the ball didn’t materialise and the right-hander once even lost the grip of his bat as it flew past the square leg. Man of the match Broad (2/21) put an end to Kapugedara’s misery when he had the batsman caught by Tim Bresnan at mid-off.

Only Mathews was able to withstand the test of England bowlers and the difficult pitch while the rest failed to measure up to the challenge.

SCOREBOARD

SRI LANKA
J’rdene c Kieswetter b Broad    10
(9b, 1x4)
J’suriya c C’wood b Sidebottom    1
(4b)
Dilshan c Wright b Bresnan    9
(8b, 2x4)
Sangakkara c Pietersen b Swann    16
(19b, 2x4)
Mathews (run out)    58
(45b, 3x4, 1x6)
Kapugdera c Bresnan b Broad    16
(27b, 2x4)
Perera (not out)    8
(7b)
Jayasinghe (n.o)    1
(2b)
Extras (LB-1, W-7, NB-1)    9
Total (for 6 wkts; 20 overs)    128

Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Jayasuriya), 2-20 (Dilshan), 3-26 (Jayawardene), 4-47 (Sangakkara), 5-93 (Kapugedera), 6-126 (Mathews). 

Bowling: Bresnan 4-0-41-1 (-4), Sidebottom 4-0-24-1 (w-1), Broad 4-0-21-2 (nb-1, w-2), Swann 4-0-20-1, Yardy 4-0-21-1. 
Scoing pattern: after 5 overs: 26/3; 10: 55/4; 15: 86/4; end of innings: 128/6 in 20 overs.

Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 38/3.

ENGLAND
 Kieswetter b Malinga    39
(25b, 5x4, 2x6)
Lumb b Perera    33
(26b, 4x4, 1x6)
Pietersen (not out)    42
(26b, 3x4, 2x6)
C’wood c Sangakkara b Perera    10
(13b)
Morgan (not out)    2
(2b)
Extras (LB-4, W-2)    6
Total (for 3 wkts, 16 overs)    132

 Fall of wickets: 1-68 (Kieswetter), 2-80 (Lumb), 3-113 (Collingwood).

Bowling: Dilshan 1-0-5-0, Mendis 4-019-0, Randiv 3-0-27-0, Mathews 1-0-10-0, Malinga 4-0-33-1 (w-2), Jayasuriya 1-0-15-0, Perera 2-0-19-2.

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