Buttler ton sets up England’s 26-run win over Sri Lanka

Wednesday 03rd November 2021 07:25 EDT

A crucial unbeaten century by Jos Buttler set up England’s 26-run win over Sri Lanka in a Group 1 match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday. With this win, England made it four out of four victories in the tournament and increased their chances of topping Group 1 as well as reaching the semi-finals.

Buttler’s unbeaten knock of 101 off 67 balls, laced with six fours and as many sixes, took England to 163/4 in 20 overs. In reply, Sri Lanka overcame an early wobble and looked set to chase the target. But England’s persistence with the ball, despite dew coming into play, meant that Sri Lanka were all out for 137 in 19 overs.

Sri Lanka got off to a poor start as they lost Pathum Nissanka on the third ball of the innings to a run-out. Charith Asalanka took a brace of boundaries against Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali in successive overs. But his joyride was cut short when he chipped an Adil Rashid googly to mid-off in the fourth over. Rashid came back in his next over to take out Kusal Perera, who miscued a googly to extra cover.

England hand Aussies a thrashing

Saturday’s Super 12 clash between arch rivals England and Australia was described by England skipper Eoin Morgan as his team’s most difficult challenge on the eve of the game. He also labelled them as second favourites for the title after his team. May be it was his way of taking the mickey out of the Aussies as the 2010 champions blew away the 2010 runners up by chasing 126 with eight wickets and 50 balls to spare with a combination of savagery and skill.

The skill was provided by Chris Woakes (2-23) in the powerplay and player of the match and England’s highest wicket-taker in T20Is, Chris Jordan (3-17) in the death. The savagery was dished out by Jos Buttler 71 (32 balls). Buttler’s long-range striking with a high grip like a golfer saw him cart Mitchell Starc for two sixes. He also didn’t spare Adam Zampa, thereby targeting two of the main bowlers in the rival camp and demoralizing them. It was a throwback to what Sri Lankan marauder Sanath Jayasuriya used to do at the peak of his powers in the mid-1990s.

Millar clinches a thriller for SA

If two shots could ever decide the fate of a match, then this game was a classic example of it. Capitalising on two misfired length balls by Lahiru Kumara, David Miller, that old pro, blasted two massive sixes over the cow corner in the final over, to take South Africa to a nerve-wracking, four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a T20 World Cup Group I match in Sharjah on Saturday.

Sri Lanka looked to be the favourites when the Proteas needed 25 off the final two overs with just four wickets in hand, but a six in the penultimate over by Kagiso Rabada off Dushmantha Chameera eased the pressure, before ‘killer’ Miller produced his magic to finish the game in style. Miller has now hit 77 sixes in T20 - the maximum by a South African batter in T20I.

Pakistan outplay Afghanistan

The Afghan warriors did their best but this is a Pakistan team of rare quality. They know how to eke out a result in their favour when things are spiraling out of control and that’s the trait of a champion team. Asif Ali, Pakistan right-hander came to the party yet again when it seemed Group 2 would be thrown open by Afghanistan. He came in at the fall of Shoaib Malik on a pitch where the ball was stopping a bit, but it seemed he was there from ball 1. Asif knew Afghanistan paceman Karim Janat was the weak-link in the Afghanistan attack and he launched a vicious attack as Pakistan needed 24 off 12. Four sixes flew from his bat in the 19th over as Janat looked a fish out of water and Pakistan notched up their third win and they are well on course to finish on top of the group. But till the 19th over, Afghanistan fought for every inch. While Gulbadan Naik and Mohammed Nabi were brilliant in their 71-run seventh-wicket partnership to give Afghanistan a fighting chance, the likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman were on the mark when it came to restricting Pakistan batsmen.

WI stay alive with close win

Two teams staring at an early exit from the competition faced off in a contest which bordered on the mediocre, what with sloppy fielding and dropped catches dominating proceedings. What helped West Indies sneak over the line was a standout innings from the under-fire Nicholas Pooran and a tidy last over from Andre Russell. The duo’s star act in Sharjah ensured the defending champions pipped Bangladesh by a three-run margin. The result keeps West Indies in the hunt mathematically, although with a poor net run rate of -1.598. Bangladesh are out of the reckoning after three consecutive losses. Chasing a modest 142/7 posted by West Indies, Bangladesh managed 139 for five, unable to eke out the 12 runs needed for victory in the final over. Sent into bat, the West Indies top-order, which was rejigged with Chris Gayle (4) opening alongside Evin Lewis (6), failed to get going. Mahedi Hasan (2/27) and Taskin Ahmed (0/17) tied down the openers and the pressure told when Lewis offered a sitter to Mushfiqur Rahim at square-leg off Mustafizur Rahman in the third over.

Easy win for Australians

Australian batter David Warner showed off his class, smashing a whirlwind, unbeaten 65 off 42 balls to lead Australia to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their second game of the T20 World Cup at Dubai on Thursday. Dropped by the Sunrisers after just two games in the second game of the IPL, Warner who looked to be getting back into touch during his brief 13-run stay in the first game against South Africa- roared back to form to help Australia coast to the 155-run target set by Sri Lanka. With his opening partner, skipper Aaron Finch (37) too firing away in characteristic fashion, Warner laid the foundation for the Aussies before Steve Smith (28 not out) and Marcus Stoinis (16 not out) took them home with three overs to spare in a one-sided contest. Earlier, the Lankans were off to a superb start, then slipped in the middle overs, before recovering well at the finish. Asked to bat first, they scored 154 for six in their Group 1 clash.

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