Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews played key roles in Sri Lanka’s stunning 20-run World Cup win over England at Headingley on Friday and revived the race for semi-final berths at the tournament.
England were all but out of the match after slumping to 186/9 as they chased a modest 233 for victory. Ben Stokes’ blistering 82 not out off 89 balls, including seven fours and fours sixes, got them to within sight of their target.
But Stokes’ gamble on giving Durham team-mate Mark Wood a ball to face at the end of a Nuwan Pradeep over backfired when the No 11 was caught behind and Sri Lanka won with three overs to spare.
Victory would have seen hosts England, bidding to win the World Cup for the first time, go top of the 10-team table.
But instead their second surprise loss of the round-robin group stage after a 14-run defeat by Pakistan, left them in third place, with Sri Lanka now just two points adrift of the pre-tournament favourites.
The top four at the end of the first phase qualify for the semi-finals, with England’s next match against arch rivals Australia – the table-toppers and reigning champions – at Lord’s on Tuesday now even more important to their hopes of a last four place.
Earlier, Mathews’ painstaking 85 not out of 115 balls, with just five fours, helped Sri Lanka recover from a top-order collapse to finish on 232-9.
That seemed a below par total but with paceman Malinga taking 4-43 and off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva following up with three wickets in quick succession, it proved more than enough as Sri Lanka enjoyed another memorable day at Headingley – the ground where they sealed their first Test series win in England five years ago.
That result not just brought the semi-final race alive, it also set Twitter ablaze. Here’s a selection of the best tweets:
(With AFP inputs)