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England hold on to see off Sri Lanka, South Africa

England beat Sri Lanka by 10 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla
England beat Sri Lanka by 10 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla
©Chetan Narula / Cricket World

By beating Sri Lanka by 10 runs, England knocked out both Sri Lanka and South Africa, and qualified for the ICC World T20 semi-finals, to set up a likely clash with New Zealand on Wednesday.

The Jos Buttler Show

With the threat of dew later in the evening, Sri Lanka chose to bowl after winning the toss. Alex Hales (0) was troubled by spin as Rangana Herath (1-27) and Jeffrey Vandersay (2-26) came on to bowl early, and he was soon out lbw.

It was a vital moment for England but Jason Roy (42) and Joe Root (25) used their feet well to counter the spin. They ran their runs hard and played proper shots to defy the two bowlers, putting on 61 runs for the second wicket and setting the platform for the second part of the innings.

England were placed at 65 for one at the end of 10 overs, but they were both gone soon after, bringing Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan together. They started off slowly in the initial half of their 74-run partnership, with the score reading 99 for two with five overs to go.

Morgan then took 18 runs off Thisara Perera’s 16th over, and then Buttler took control and smacked Dushmantha Chameera for three boundaries in the next over. Two more fours and a further two sixes flowed from his bat, the last of which was a monster 97-metre hit, as he brought up his fifty off only 28 balls.

England took 72 runs off the last five overs and ended up with 171/4, just about a par score on this dewy ground.

Angelo Mathews’ Heroics

Sri Lanka sank to 15 for four in the 3rd over, as David Willey (2-26) and Chris Jordan (4-28) ran through their top order, with seven being the highest individual score. Then came Angelo Mathews (73 not out off 54 balls) to the crease, and with him the real Sri Lankan fightback began.

At first, he went into repair mode and found a partner in Chamara Kapugedara (30), as the duo added 80 runs for the fifth wicket.  

Thisara Perera then smacked 20 runs from 18 balls to up the ante, and as England were pushed onto the back foot, Mathews also brought out his shots as they put on 42 runs off just 22 balls. Perera lived and died by the sword, but Mathews carried on, taking 21 runs off Moeen Ali in the 16th over as Sri Lanka stayed in the game.

Dasun Shanaka (15) hit two fours and a six to keep the momentum going, but then Root took a stunning catch at mid-off, flying to his left, and sent him back. Mathews had finally run out of big hitting partners and Ben Stokes didn’t allow any leeway in his last over, as Sri Lanka fell short by 10 runs, finishing at 161 for eight.

What This Means

With three wins from four games, England have qualified as the second-placed side from Group One behind West Indies. Their 10-run victory knocked out both Sri Lanka and South Africa in one go, rendering the clash between these two sides on Monday (also in Delhi) meaningless.

England will now take on Group Two winners New Zealand in the first semi-final on Wednesday, again to be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla, provided West Indies stay on top after their match against Afghanistan on Sunday.

© Cricket World 2016