Sri Lanka Reach Semis By Beating Australia
Sri Lanka produced an efficient performance to beat Australia by 20 runs and book themselves an ICC Champions Trophy 2013 semi-final against India.
Set 254 to win, Australia needed to get the runs within 29.1 overs to stay in the tournament and they gave game chase but lost too many wickets along the way and were eventually dismissed for 233.
A defeat of any kind for Sri Lanka would have seen them out and they stuck to their task with Nuwan Kulasekara taking three wickets but there was almost a twist in the tale as Australia's last batsmen Clint McKay (30) and Xavier Doherty (15 not out) added 41 for the final wicket to delay Sri Lanka's celebrations.
Australia's failure to get the runs meant that New Zealand were also knocked out and England, as group winners, will play South Africa in the other semi-final.
George Bailey won the toss and decided to invite Sri Lanka to bowl first as he felt that would enable his side to know exactly what they needed to do to win.
Angelo Mathews said he would have batted had he won so he was happy, and so were Sri Lanka as Mahela Jayawardene (84 not out), Lahiru Thirimanne (57) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (34) all made telling contributions.
Mitchell Johnson grabbed figures of three for 48 but Dinesh Chandimal added a quickfire 31 late on to see Sri Lanka past the 250-mark and leave Australia needing to perform exceptionally well to stay in the competition.
Already missing Michael Clark (injury) and David Warner (suspension) they could have done without Shane Watson departing early, bowled by Kulasekara.
Phillip Hughes made 13 in 10 balls and Glenn Maxwell, promoted to number three, struck some firm blows in making 32 in 20 before a dawdling Bailey was run out by the irrepressible Kulasekara.
Adam Voges then held one end together as he invited other batsmen to hit out at the other end as Australia continued to try for a target that was figuratively drifting further and further away from them, Matthew Wade thumping 31 in 23 balls and James Faulkner 17 in 14 before they passed the point of no return, the 30th over, still well short.
Shortly afterwards, Voges fell for 49 in 62 balls which left the final pair of McKay and Doherty and although they calmly added runs to take Australia close to clinching an unlikely win, they had been left with too much to do.
Video from SNTV
© Cricket World 2013
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Champions Trophy History
1998: South Africa
2000: New Zealand
2002: India/Sri Lanka
2004: West Indies