Blackcaps Knockdown Wounded Lankan Lions

 Blackcaps Knockdown Wounded Lankan Lions

New Zealand can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The Blackcaps have almost sealed their semifinal spot after giving the final blow to the Sri Lankan World Cup campaign, on Thursday at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. 

The First Innings

New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to bowl first.

It was yet again a disappointing batting performance by the Lankans. Opener Pathum NIssanka(2 in 8b) fell in the second over, and skipper Kusal Mendis(6 in 7b) returned to the pavilion in the 5th. But opener Kusal Perera stood his ground and scored a much-needed half-century before falling prey to Lockie Fergusen’s bowling(10-2-35-2).

After Perera, the Lankan batting was uninspiring as they fell one after the other. In the middle order, veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews(16 in 27b) and Dhananjaya de Silva(19 in 24b) tried to stabilise the innings but failed.

Tailenders Maheesh Theekshana(38 in 91b, n.o) and Dilshan Madhushanka(19 in 48b) contributed some crucial runs to get their team to a total of 171 runs before being bundled out in 46.4 overs.

Trent Boult(10-3-37-3) took crucial wickets of in-form Lankan batters Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka and skipper Kusal Mendis. He also bowled three maiden overs to choke the Lankans.

In this edition, Sri Lanka has got all out the most. That is, they didn’t even last for the full length of their innings several times. 

The Second Innings

The Kiwi retaliation on the other hand was spirited and lively. Openers Devon Conway(45 in 42b) and Rachin Ravindra(42 in 34b) gave the Kiwis a solid start with their 86-run opening partnership. Ravindra overtook Quinton de Kock to be the tournament’s highest run scorer with 565 runs(9 innings).

Captain Kane Williamson(14 in 15b) went back a little early after misjudging a ball by Angelo Mathews(4-0-29-2). But the in-form middle-order batter Daryl Mitchel(43 in 31b) played anchor and accelerated the Kiwi innings to take them closer to the finish line. He got caught on the bowling of the seasoned Angelo Mathews.

But middle-order batters Glenn Phillips(17 in 10b, n.o.) and wicketkeeper Tom Latham(2 in 2b, n.o.) finished things off for their team. The Kiwi batters chased the score in just 23.2 overs.

The Result

The Kiwis comfortably sailed over the Islanders. New Zealand won by 5 wickets with 160 deliveries to spare. Trent Boult was named Player of the Match.

The Road Ahead 

The Kiwis have almost made it to the semifinals as they sit comfortably in the 4th position. Other contenders like Afghanistan and Pakistan need to win by astronomical margins to trump them as the Kiwis boast a superior net run rate.

This was the last outing for both teams in this edition of the World Cup. Sri Lanka has a lot of soul-searching to do as their entire selection committee was disbanded after the debacle in the match with India. While New Zealand must be looking forward to their semifinal game with the undefeated Indians.

Here’s the latest look at the points table after Thursday’s match:
TeamMatchesWonLost Points
South Africa(Q)86212
New Zealand95410
Sri Lanka(E)9274

(Q = Qualified, E = Eliminated)

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