With more wash-outs and complaints than close matches, the 12th ICC Cricket World Cup was heading towards the knock outs with the top 4 teams almost confirmed. The match between hot favourites England and seriously under-performing Sri Lanka promised nothing exciting either.
Although a pitch which looked like a good batting track was provided, Sri Lanka lost both their openers, their best batsmen in the tournament so far, in the first two overs to spell disaster. With a youngster playing in his first ever World Cup match at the crease and an inconsistent middle order to come, the game was almost certainly over for Sri Lanka, even before it had really begun…. or so we thought.
When things were bleak for the islanders, it was that youngster, Avishka Fernando, who lit it up for Sri Lanka. His couple of sixes against Archer showed the level of freedom he batted with and was an ideal boost for a haunted Sri Lankan middle order. It was then the social media fraternity started chatting about the game in excitement.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 21 June 2019
It was, however, usual business once again for the boys in blue, playing with a yellow-dominated kit today, as they tumbled for a below par score to leave England with a target which they would back themselves to chase 10/10 times with the form and skill of their current batting line-up.
Former English skipper Michael Vaughan, a very active person on Twitter had this to say.
Sri Lanka playing cricket like England were playing in 1996 … !! or for that matter 1999,2003,2007,2011 & 2015 !! #CWC19
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) 21 June 2019
Having said all that, the second half was simply a fairy tale. Someone even might say that fairytales have more realistic 2nd halves. Such was the shock and disbelief when Sri Lanka pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the World Cup by defending 232 against a red-hot English batting line-up, to win by 20 runs.
Just after Sri Lanka’s brilliant defense, some all-time greats of the game sent out their appreciation for the team’s great effort.
— Sanath Jayasuriya (@Sanath07) 21 June 2019
Brilliant stuff from Sri Lanka.
What they didn’t do with the bat, they more than compensated with the ball.
Malinga and Co. were disciplined & troubled the batsmen.
With England still needing to play Australia, New Zealand & India, the #CWC19 may throw up a few surprises.#ENGvSL pic.twitter.com/T4mHATZiz2
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) 21 June 2019
What a performance by @OfficialSLC great win inspired bowling by lasith Malinga and danajaya de silva . WOW. Hope this is the catalyst for the team to believe even more. Now for the batsmen to respond with heart
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) 21 June 2019
All criticism towards Sri Lanka’s most experienced batsman at the moment, Angelo Mathews, seemed to be forgotten as the value of his slow-paced innings to take Sri Lanka to what turned out to be a respectable total was realized only after seeing how the in-form English batsmen struggled to get going on the provided wicket.
What a moment … what a feeling #CWC2019 no one gave them a chance #ENGvSL That’s the way to do it … thought that was a great team effort and everyone pulled in the same direction .. no we realise the full value of @Angelo69Mathews innings
— Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) 21 June 2019
As the experienced men stood up for Sri Lanka, some experts extended their wishes pointing out to the importance of having experienced players in your playing XI.
Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga, with 26 years of international cricket between them, each achieved World Cup career bests today – they’re just getting better with age!
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) 21 June 2019
Well done Sri Lanka. Fantastic win. Malinga and Matthews, showing what experience can do in crunch situations. Makes the table interesting #ENGvSL
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) 21 June 2019
Out of all tweets the best ones were that which showed how relieved they were to see an upset which paved the way for some interesting matches in the future.
This #CWC19 was heading towards many dead rubbers. Today’s result has changed that and I am looking at the matches to come through a different lens
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 21 June 2019
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) 21 June 2019
Amidst all these, a clip of a press conference in which Eoin Morgan claimed that he was surprised with the Sri Lankan squad named for the World Cup as it had so many new faces, got trending once again with England’s ‘surprise’ defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka which consists of ‘ten new members’.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) 21 June 2019
With everyone busy praising the performers, Mahela Jayawardene didn’t forget the role played by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne marshalling his troops really well under pressure to pull off an incredible victory against a tough opposition.
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) 21 June 2019