Sri Lanka stumbles to heavy Aussie defeat
Cameron White reignited Australia’s innings with a wonderful half century to help Australia claim a vital 81 run victory to leave them on the verge of qualifying for the Twenty20 World Cup semi finals.
The middle order batsman has had a quiet tournament so far for Australia but White regained his form with a top score of 85 from just 49 balls to rescue the Aussies after they had been reduced to 67-5 after 11 overs.
He shared a 6th wicket partnership of 101 with Michael Hussey which saw the pair score 69 runs from the last 5 overs to give Sri Lanka a tricky run chase.
With India losing earlier in the day against the West Indies; Sri Lanka knew a victory over Australia would guarantee them a place in the semi finals but having been set a victory target of 169 things didn’t quiet go to plan.
Having been the star of the tournament so far scoring 279 in his previous three games Mahela Jayawardene suffered a rare failure scoring just 9 runs before he was caught by Steven Smith out on the boundary after attempting to hit consecutive sixes off the bowling of Dirk Nannes.
Kumar Sangakkara (2) and Sanath Jayasuriya (5) soon followed to leave Sri Lanka 26-3.
Tillakaratne Dilshan regained some personal form with a scratchy 20 from 12 balls but when he was dismissed thanks to a stunning catch by White in the covers; Sri Lanka’s chances of victory were looking bleak.
Sri Lanka continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as they slipped to a ** run victory which saw an impressive Australia match England’s performance last night against South Africa by thrashing one of the tournament favourites.
The day got off to a brighter start for Sri Lanka thanks to Angelo Mathews and Suraj Tandiv who were the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets a piece to reduce Australia to 30-4 inside the first 5 overs.
The pair bowled with intelligence; taking the pace off the ball to restrict Shane Watson and David Warner who came into the game in a rich vain of form having enjoyed a 104 run partnership against India on Friday.
With a wicket full of pace and bounce Watson and Warner would have fancied another big opening partnership but Sri Lanka opened the bowling with Angelo Mathews who took all the pace of the ball.
Having scored a half century against India; Watson could only manage one run before he played the ball onto his own stumps from the 5th delivery of Mathews’s first over as Sri Lanka started off the brighter of the two teams.
Brad Haddin (15) quickly followed Watson back to the dugout before Tandiv took two consecutive wickets in the 4th over to reduce the Aussies to 30-4 after he removed Warner (9) and David Hussey (0) cheaply.
With the Aussies deep in trouble skipper Michael Clarke and Cameron White came to the crease with the team needing the experienced pair to produce a dramatic partnership in order to rebuild Australia’s stuttering innings.
Although Clarke (14) was unable to increase the scoring rate; White added 24 runs in a partnership of 37 before the Aussies skipper was bowled by Randiv from the final ball of the 11th over to leave the Aussies 67-5.
With Clarke gone White was joined at the crease by Michael Hussey and the pair lifted the Aussies spirits with a vital partnership which put Australia into a strong position after such a disappointing start.
While Hussey played the supporting role White continued to keep the Aussies on track by dispatching Chamkaka Welegedara for consecutive sixes in the 16th over as the runs started to flow with ease.
With the pressure now on the Sri Lanka’s their bowlers lost their way a little bit conceding 69 runs from the final 5 overs.