NZ bundle out Sri Lanka for 171 in crucial WC match

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 Sri Lanka were skittled for 171 in 46.4 overs in a must-win match for New Zealand in the 41st ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee ripped through the Sri Lanka top-order, with the former leading the attack, bagging 3/37 in 10 overs, and Southee picking up 1/52 in 8 overs.

Pacer Lockie Ferguson, and spinners Mitchell Santner and Rachin Ravindra also were good, snaring up two wickets each.

Sri Lanka were 113/8 in 23.3 overs, but their tailenders put their foot down, especially Maheesh Theekshana (38* off 91, 3x4s) and Dilshan Madushanka (19 off 48, 2x4s), who frustrated New Zealand by pushing the innings deep into 46.4 overs.

Opener Kusal Perera (51 off 28, 9x4s 2x6s) was the top-scorer who cracked second fastest World Cup fifty off 22 balls for Sri Lanka, but could not capitalise on it to pilot Sri Lanka’s innings further as he was hauled up by Ferguson.

An experienced Angelo Mathews (16 off 27, 2x4s) and Dhananjaya de Silva (19 off 24, 2x4s 1×6) provided some hope, but Santner bamboozled them with flight, turn and bounce.

Just as New Zealand thought their pacers would run through the rival’s innings, Sri Lanka’s lower-order exhibited gumption to add 58 runs for the final two wickets.

After the poor batting display, Sri Lanka would be hoping Madushanka, the highest wicket-taker of this tournament, to come good and extend his wickets from 21.

Earlier, Kane Williamson flipped the coin in New Zealand’s favour and asked Sri Lanka to bat first.

Southee sent back Pathum Nissanka for 2 in the second over of the match after he was dropped a ball before.

Perera was in his groove and played his shots freely despite the ball moving around. Luck was in his favour as Sri Lanka started off to a flier, scoring 30 runs in the first 4 overs.

Even after Boult removed Kusal Mendis (6) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (1) in the 5th over, Perera went about clobbering the ball. He bludgeoned Southee for 4 boundaries in an over and then added 2 more off Boult next over.

Boult continued to cause mayhem at the other end, sending back the centurion from the previous game, Charith Asalanka, for 8.

With Perera dismissed next over, Sri Lanka’s hopes fell flat and Santner’s double strike in quick succession firmly put the nail on Sri Lanka’s innings.

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