A swift half-century from all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and his 69-run partnership with skipper Aaron Finch helped defending champions Australia secure a crucial seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their Group 1, Super 12 match of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup on Tuesday in Perth. With this win, Australia is fourth in the points list with 2 points, one place below Asian champions Sri Lanka, who is third with two points.
Australia, chasing 158, didn’t get a chance to easily push boundaries as Lankan bowlers harassed them with their line and lengths. More than four overs went by when opener David Warner was caught by skipper Dasun Shanaka trying to drive. Spinner Maheesh Theekshana had given Lanka their first wicket with 26 runs and the southpaw was back in the pavilion for 11 from 10 balls.
Mitchell Marsh joined skipper Aaron Finch at the crease. Australia finished the power play without even scoring a single four or six, for the first time in their T20I history. In six overs, Australia was 33/1, with Marsh (1*) and Finch (9*) at the top.
In the second ball of the 8th over, Marsh broke the border drought by beating Wanindu Hasaranga for a four and six. With those six, Australia crossed the 50-point mark in the 8th.
Finch also let go of his arms at the first ball of the next left, launching a huge slog across wide and long. Just when it looked like the Aussies were speeding up, Marsh handed a long-range catch to Bhanuka Rajapaksa. Dhananjaya de Silva sent Marsh back for 17 of 17 balls. Australia was currently 60/2 in 8.3 overs.
Glenn Maxwell joined Finch. He swung things in Australia’s favor by beating Hasaranga by two sixes and a four in the 10th left for a total of 19 runs. After 10 overs, Australia was 85/2, with Maxwell (22*) and Finch (23*).
Maxwell had brought some life into the game, but was punched over the throat in the 12th. In the next over, Chamika Karunaratne took his wicket after Ashen Bandara caught him at the boundary rope. The all-rounder was fired for a quickfire of 23 off 12 balls, bringing the Aussies down to 89/3 in 12.2 overs.
Marcus Stoinis was next in line. Australia reached the 100 run in 13.4 overs. Finch had kept one end steady with his patient approach, while Stoinis feasted on Shanaka and Hasaranga’s bowling, crushing them easily before fours and sixes. Hasaranga, all along a star for SL, suffered the worst, skipping 19 runs in his 15th.
At the end of 15 overs, Australia was at 126/3, with Finch (27*) and Stoinis (34*) in the fold. Stoinis continued to attack the Lankan bowlers, forming a 20-ball 50-run partnership. He also put in his half century in just 17 balls, the fastest by an Aussie in T20I history.
The duo helped Australia win the match with 21 balls left and seven wickets in hand. Australia finished 158/3 in 16.3 overs, with Stoinis scoring 59* in just 18 balls with four fours and six sixes and Finch unbeaten at 31* on 42 balls on the other side. Both had a partnership of 69 runs in just 25 balls.
Theekshana, Dhananjaya, Karunaratne each took a wicket for SL.
Previously, Australian bowlers made a stellar comeback after a 69-run second wicket tie between Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva to bring Sri Lanka down to a modest 157/6 in their Group 1, Super 12 match of the ICC T20 World Cup in Perth on Tuesday.
A 69-point second wicket tie between Nissanka (40) and de Silva (26) kept the Lankans in a good position, but the Aussies made a comeback with some quick wickets, taking advantage of the Lankans’ propensity for loose shots. To hit. However, Charith Asalanka (38*) made sure his side finished in a decent way.
Leading the way through Australia, Sri Lanka took a huge blow when pacer Pat Cummins sent in-form opener Kusal Mendis back for just 5 out of 6 balls after the batter skied a mistimed pull attempt that went straight into the hands of Mitchell Marsh. went on the region midwicket. Sri Lanka finished 6/1.
Following this, opener Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva joined forces and kept the scoreboard ticking with careful rotation of strikes and at least one limit per over. However, in the later stages of the power play, Australian bowlers delivered some extras due to some sloppy bowling.
At the end of the power play, Sri Lanka was at 36/1, with de Silva (6*) and Nissanka (17*). The Asian champions reached the 50-run in eight overs and their inning seemed on the right track. A fifty-run tie for the second wicket was between Silva (15*) and Nissanka (28*) in 41 balls. At the end of 10 overs, Sri Lanka was at 63/1, with de Silva (17*) and Nissanka (32*) at the top. The duo had collectively scored just four limits, mostly targeting strike rotation.
The 69-run tie between Silva and Nissanka was broken by spinner Ashton Agar, after the first was caught brilliantly by David Warner in the long-off region. Silva was back in the cabin for 26 from 23 balls and Lankans were 75/2 in 11.3 overs. Charith Asalanka was the next man for Sri Lanka, who made an immediate impact by beating Marsh with a four and six in the 13th over. A well-placed Nissanka also had to return after being ridden by the pair of Marsh and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for 40 from 45 balls. Sri Lanka was 97/3.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa was the next batter on the crease. Sri Lanka reached the 100 point mark in 14.1 overs. He scored a limit, but his stay was limited to just five balls by Mitchell Starc, who, with help from Cummins, got his first victim of the day. Sri Lanka lost 106/4 in 14.5 overs. With five overs to go, Sri Lanka was at 106/4, with Asalanka (16*) joined by skipper Dasun Shanaka. The Lankans continued to witness a slide as skipper Shanaka skied one, caught by Wade, giving Glenn Maxwell his first wicket for the day.
SL had lost half of its batters for 111 runs. They lost four wickets in a space of just 36 runs, enabling the Aussies to make a comeback after Silva-Nissanka’s stand. Josh Hazlewood claimed just one run off the scalp of all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga. Hasanranga slid a long ball to the seventh stump to give a flyout to Wade. At 120/6 in 17.3 overs, SL needed some intervention to improve their situation.
Chamika Karunaratne joined Asalanka at the crease. Asalanka helped his team cross the 150 point mark in 19.5 overs. Cummins’ last over was extremely expensive as 20 runs were given away. Sri Lanka finished in 157/6, with Asalanka (38*) and Karunaratne (14*). Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, Agar and Maxwell each got a wicket.
Short scores: Sri Lanka: 157/6 (Pathum Nissanka 40, Charith Asalanka 38*, Glenn Maxwell 1/5) lost to Australia: 158/3 in 16.3 overs (Marcus Stoinis 59*, Aaron Finch 31*, Chamika Karunaratne 1/20).