New Delhi: Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga achieved Men’s Cricket World Cup career-bests to set up a thrilling 20-run victory for Sri Lanka over England.
The new-ball pair of Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes gave England the perfect start with the key dismissals of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera to leave Sri Lanka 3/2 after 2.2 overs. From there, Avishka Fernando – making his World Cup debut – counterattacked with a thrilling 39-ball 49 but his stay at the crease ended with him guiding a catch to third man off the bowling of Mark Wood.
From there Kusal Mendis and Mathews patiently rebuilt until Adil Rashid struck twice in one over to further dent Sri Lanka’s effort. Mathews continued to play the anchor role for his side as wickets fell around him, ending the innings unbeaten on 85. Wood and Archer finished with three wickets apiece as they helped restrict the batting side to 232/9 from 50 overs.
Lasith Malinga struck a major early blow in the England chase, trapping Jonny Bairstow lbw for the batsman’s second golden duck of the tournament. James Vince fell for 14 but Joe Root continued his excellent form with another half-century in the tournament.
Nonetheless, the dismissal of Root saw England begin to lose control of the match and while Ben Stokes fought hard, passing fifty himself, wickets continued to fall around him; Malinga pinned Jos Buttler with a superb yorker, while Dhananjaya de Silva’s canny off-spin returned three wickets in the space of 14 balls.
When Isuru Udana enticed Archer to hole out to Thisara, England still needed 47 runs, but with Stokes still at the crease, England had a chance. He was put down off Malinga’s penultimate ball, and cashed in straightaway with consecutive sixes off Udana.
He was in the midst of a masterclass, bludgeoning boundaries when he could, and leaving No.11 Mark Wood at most one ball to play an over. But one ball was all it took for Nuwan Pradeep to nick Wood off and spark joyous Sri Lankan celebrations.