Another middle-order collapse cost Sri Lanka a much-needed win against Australia in their 5th league match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at the Kennington Oval in London today, as title holders Australia recorded a convincing 87-run win.
Australia got off to a very good start after their skipper Aaron Finch lost his 9th consecutive toss (including warm-up matches). Aiming to get an early advantage of the grass covering over the Oval track, Sri Lanka fielded a 4-seamer attack, leaving out Suranga Lakmal from the team which last played a match 11 days ago.
Australia, playing an all-seam attack interestingly lost their first two wickets to the handy off spin of Dhananjaya De Silva, after an 80-run opening partnership. The Australian opening pair of Aaron Finch and David Warner were too good for the Sri Lankan seamers, even on a green surface as they kept the scoring rate up from over number 1, playing the ball right through the line, giving very little chance for an edge or to be beaten. They were also assisted by Sri Lanka’s sloppy fielding.
With the introduction of De Silva in the 15th over, Australia started slowing down a bit as he kept things really tight from one end. Warner, who couldn’t really find regular boundaries despite timing the ball quite well, eventually perished to De Silva, trying to cut a straight ball. Following Warner’s dismissal for a 48-ball 26 which had just 2 boundaries, Usman Khawaja was caught by Isuru Udana at deep mid-wicket for 10 in 20 deliveries.
De Silva’s game controlling spell read 7-0-20-2 when Sri Lanka were quite in control of the game, keeping Australia to 132/2 in 28 overs. The breakthrough over for Australia happened then as Aaron Finch cut loose and hit De Silva for 20 runs in his 8th over with 2 sixes and a four.
Cruising towards a well-made World Cup century, Australia Captain Finch along with former skipper Steve Smith clubbed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground, taking back full control of the game. The duo added 173 runs for the 3rd wicket in just 19.4 overs.
Man of the Match in Sri Lanka’s only win in the tournament so far, Nuwan Pradeep was hit for 4 powerful boundaries by Finch and Smith in his 9th over after he had maintained a modest economy of 6 in his first 8 overs. The death over demon kept following him when he was hit for 22 runs by Maxwell in the 45th over to end his 10-over spell wicket-less, giving away 88 runs.
Before Pradeep’s disastrous 10th over, Sri Lanka’s death over specialists Isuru Udana and Lasith Malinga got rid of the dangerous Aaron Finch and Steve Smith respectively for 153 and 73. Malinga dismissing Smith with a perfect Malinga yorker was a sight to behold for Sri Lankan fans.
The 4 overs from over number 46 to 49, bowled by Malinga and Udana were brilliant, death bowling at its best. Both the T20 experts gave away just 11 runs each while Udana dismissed Shaun Marsh. Udana also managed 2 run-outs in his follow-through. The explosive Maxwell was kept silent to a great extent, although he scored 46 off 25 balls, as Thisara Perera finished off the innings with a decent over, giving away just 1 boundary. Australia were restricted to 334/7 despite eyeing a total of 350+ when Finch and Smith were batting.
The run-chase for Sri Lanka required them to break the record for the highest successful run-chase in World Cup history as well as in the history of ODIs played at Kennington Oval, London. They are in fact the record holders at this venue, chasing down 322 runs set by India in an ICC Champions Trophy match in 2017.
The challenging run-chase looked to be quite gettable when the Lankan openers got off to a blistering start. The start was so good that the openers went on to post the highest Powerplay 1 score of the tournament, scoring 87/0 in the first 10 overs.
Skipper Karunaratne who is renowned for his ability to bat long innings in Test cricket, showcased the aggressor in him as he reached his 2nd half-century of the tournament, before his more explosive partner Kusal Perera, in just 43 deliveries.
Perera, who reached his half-century soon after Karunaratne, got there in just 33 balls and looked dangerous. The swift partnership between the two left-handers was eventually broken by Mitchell Starc when he bowled Perera.
Lahiru Thirimanne, who then joined Karunaratne when Sri Lanka were on 115/1 in the 16th over, couldn’t really get going and take forward the momentum built by the openers as he was caught behind for 16 in 26. His dismissal was just after he broke the shackles and scored a boundary off Jason Behrendorff, who replaced Nathan Coulter-Nile in the game today.
Kusal Mendis and Karunaratne were then involved in a 33-run partnership in 8.2 overs after the 38-run stand between Karunaratne and Thirimanne, facing the same number of overs. With both new batsmen failing to provide the ideal support to Karunaratne, he couldn’t continue his early rhythm and mis-timed a cut off Kane Richardson to miss a well-deserved maiden ODI century by 3 runs.
This is his best ODI score nevertheless 👏 #LionsRoar
SL need 142 runs in 96 deliveries with 7 wickets in hand pic.twitter.com/qLfEAExwJ0
— ThePapare.com (@ThePapareSports) June 15, 2019
Mendis, who hit Maxwell for a six just before Karunaratne got out showed glimpses of taking Sri Lanka all the way towards victory, together with Angelo Mathews when he hit Starc straight back to a beautiful six in the 35th over. Mathews too looked in really good nick with two trademark boundaries.
Sri Lanka’s biggest hope was cut short in the very next over as Pat Cummins made Mathews play at a short delivery angled towards his ribs. With Mathews gone, Starc sent back both Milinda Siriwardena and Thisara Perera in the very next over to put Sri Lanka in further trouble. Siriwardena scored just 3 runs while Perera scored 7 in 3 balls including a six off the first ball he faced.
Starc’s next over saw Sri Lanka lose Mendis for 30 runs while Richardson dismissed Isuru Udana in the next over. Eventually Sri Lanka were bundled out for 247 runs in 45.5 overs with Dhananjaya De Silva unbeaten on 16.
Sri Lanka once again found themselves blown away after a very good start and will continue to look for their best combo in the middle order. Apart from that, something which dented Sri Lanka’s chase was that part-time spinner Glenn Maxwell bowled a full 10-over spell for just 46 runs. In picking up wickets Starc, Richarsdon, Cummins and Behrendorff grabbed 4,3,2 & 1 wicket respectively.
Australia move to the top of the points table with 8 points in 5 matches after this win while Sri Lanka remain 5th with 4 points in 5 matches. They’ll next play hosts England this Friday at Headingley.
|David Warner||b Dhananjaya de Silva||26||48||2||0||54.17|
|Aaron Finch||c Dimuth Karunaratne b Isuru Udana||153||132||15||5||115.91|
|Usman Khawaja||c Isuru Udana b Dhananjaya de Silva||10||20||1||0||50.00|
|Steve Smith||b Lasith Malinga||73||59||7||1||123.73|
|Glenn Maxwell||not out||46||25||5||1||184.00|
|Shaun Marsh||c Milinda Siriwardana b Isuru Udana||3||9||0||0||33.33|
|Alex Carey||run out (Isuru Udana)||4||3||0||0||133.33|
|Pat Cummins||run out (Isuru Udana)||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Mitchell Starc||not out||5||4||0||0||125.00|
|Extras||14 (b 0 , lb 4 , nb 1, w 9, pen 0)|
|Total||334/7 (50 Overs, RR: 6.68)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-80 (16.4) David Warner, 2-100 (22.6) Usman Khawaja, 3-273 (42.4) Aaron Finch, 4-278 (43.3) Steve Smith, 5-310 (46.6) Shaun Marsh, 6-317 (48.1) Alex Carey, 7-320 (48.3) Pat Cummins,|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||8||0||40||2||5.00|
|Dimuth Karunaratne||c Glenn Maxwell b Kane Richardson||97||108||9||0||89.81|
|Kusal Perera||b Mitchell Starc||52||36||5||1||144.44|
|Lahiru Thirimanne||c Alex Carey b Jason Behrendorff||16||26||1||0||61.54|
|Kusal Mendis||c Alex Carey b Mitchell Starc||30||37||0||2||81.08|
|Angelo Mathews||c Alex Carey b Pat Cummins||9||11||2||0||81.82|
|Milinda Siriwardana||b Mitchell Starc||3||4||0||0||75.00|
|Thisara Perera||c David Warner b Mitchell Starc||7||3||0||1||233.33|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||not out||16||30||2||0||53.33|
|Isuru Udana||c Aaron Finch b Kane Richardson||8||8||1||0||100.00|
|Lasith Malinga||c Usman Khawaja b Kane Richardson||1||5||0||0||20.00|
|Nuwan Pradeep||c Alex Carey b Pat Cummins||0||7||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||8 (b 0 , lb 2 , nb 0, w 6, pen 0)|
|Total||247/10 (45.5 Overs, RR: 5.39)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-115 (15.3) Kusal Perera, 2-153 (23.5) Lahiru Thirimanne, 3-186 (32.1) Dimuth Karunaratne, 4-205 (35.4) Angelo Mathews, 5-209 (36.2) Milinda Siriwardana, 6-217 (36.6) Thisara Perera, 7-222 (38.1) Kusal Mendis, 8-236 (39.6) Isuru Udana, 9-237 (41.4) Lasith Malinga, 10-247 (45.5) Nuwan Pradeep,|