England knock out Lanka in thriller to enter World T20 semis

Injured Mathews kept alive Sri Lanka's hopes with an unbeaten 73

England qualified for the World Twenty20 semi-finals and knocked holders Sri Lanka out after a nailbiting 10-run victory in their do-or-die showdown in New Delhi on Saturday.

Jos Buttler smashed 66 in a 37-ball knock as England posted a commanding total of 171 for four that ultimately proved too much for Sri Lanka despite a brave, undefeated innings of 73 by injured skipper Angelo Mathews.

England are now likely to face New Zealand in a semi-final encounter in New Delhi on Wednesday having also defeated South Africa and Afghanistan in the group stages.

After the West Indies also qualified for the last four from Group 1 on Friday, Sri Lanka have no chance of progressing further although they do have one final match against South Africa.

Buttler, who hit eight four and two sixes, shared in a fourth-wicket partnership of 74 with skipper Eoin Morgan (22) as Sri Lanka's bowlers struggled to contain a late England onslaught at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

But after having Sri Lanka on the ropes at 15 for four, they were then made to sweat for their victory with Mathews hammering England's spin bowlers to all corners despite struggling with a leg injury.

Mathews hit five sixes and three boundaries in a 54-ball innings that had England's fans with their hearts in their mouths.

He received crucial support from Chamara Kapugedera who hit 30 while Thisara Perera (20) and Dasun Shanaka who struck 15 off nine balls to take the contest down to the wire.

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid were on the receiving off some fiercesome hitting from the Sri Lankans, with both men conceding 21 in a single over.

But Joe Root's stunning catch at mid-off to dismiss Shanaka off the bowling of Chris Jordan in the 19th over proved crucial as Mathews then began running out of partners.

With Sri Lanka needing 15 from the last six balls, allrounder Ben Stokes conceded just four runs to clinch the England victory.

Sri Lanka eventually made 161 for eight in their 20 overs.

England's innings got off to a poor start when Alex Hales, back in the team after a back injury, was given out lbw off the bowling of the veteran Rangana Herath with only four on the board.

Rookie spinner Jeffrey Vandersay was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers, taking two for 26 in an economical four-over spell in which he took the wickets of both Jason Roy and Root.

But powerful hitting from Roy, who made 42 off 39, and Root (25) began to turn the match in England's favour before Buttler then stepped on the accelerator.

Stokes finished the England innings off with a six before then starring with the ball.
He was the pick of the England bowlers, conceding just 19 runs in his four overs. Liam Plunkett also impressed with figures of one for 23.

England entered the semifinals of the Twenty20 World Cup defeating Sri Lanka by 10 runs in New Delhi.

Needing 172 to win, Sri Lanka suffered early shock losing four wickets for 15 runs.

Skipper Angelo Mathews fought hard to score an unbeaten 73 while Chamara Kapugedera hit a 27-ball 30. But despite their efforts Sri Lanka fell short by 10 runs.

Chris Jordan was the pick of England's bowlers scalping four wickets, while David Willey claimed two.

Jos Buttler fired an unbeaten half century as England posted a fine 171 for four.

Put in to bat first, England batsmen played a quiet innings before Buttler arrived to change the scenario. His innings of 66 came off just 37 deliveries including eight boundaries and two sixes.

Opener Jason Roy gave a steady start with a 39-ball 42 supported by three fours and two sixes while Joe Root (25) and Eoin Morgan (22) were the other significant contributors.

SRI LANKA INNINGS

Last over and Mathews is the man on strike and who can take Sri Lanka to the victory line. Herath is clean bowled by Jordan. SL 157-8 in 19 overs.

Rangana Herath b Jordan 1 (2b 0x4 0x6)

A brilliant catch from Root sends Shanaka packing. Can Sri Lanka make it? Skipper Mathews still in the middle. SL 155-7 in 18.3 overs

Dasun Shanaka c Root b Jordan 15 (9b 2x4 1x6) 

Relief for England as Perera departs. Attempts a big shot over mid-off but can't beat the fielder. Focus now on Mathews who is batting on 66. SL 137-6 in 16.4 overs.

Thisara Perera c Willey b Jordan 20 (11b 1x4 2x6)

Mathews gets to his 50 from 40 deliveries with the help of three boundaries and three sixes. But things not looking good for him as he is limping for his run. Looks like a hamstring injury. SL 111-5 in 15 overs.

England were desperate for a wicket and they just earned it with Kapugedera being caught in the deep. SL 95-5 in 13 overs.

Chamara Kapugedera c Stokes b Plunkett 30 (27b 2x4 1x6)

Three sixes in Rashid's over has eased the pressure for the Lankans. Mathews reaches 44 from 32 deliveries. SL 88-4 in 12 overs.

Sri Lanka are 59 for four in 10 overs. They need another 113 from 60 balls.

Required run rate has creeped up over 10 but a good partnership raising hopes for the Lankans. Mathews on 16 while Kapugedera batting on 12. SL 46-4 in 8 overs.

Mathews will be the key for a Sri Lankan fightback. They need a partnership going here. Lanka need 144 from 90 balls. SL 28-4 in 5 overs.

Terrible day out for Lanka as Thirimanne is run out. Four wickets already down as Lanka stare at a big loss. SL 15-4 in 3 overs.

Lahiru Thirimanne run out 3 (5b 0x4 0x6) 

Lanka lose their third wicket as the pressure keeps building. As Sri Lanka search for the crucial partnership, England is already eyeing a big win. SL 15-3 in 2.5 overs.

Milinda Siriwardana c Morgan b Willey 7 (7b 0x4 1x6)

Sri Lanka in serious trouble here as Chandimal departs offering an edge to the keeper. SL 4-2 in 1.2 overs.

Dinesh Chandimal c Buttler b Jordan 1 (3b 0x4 0x6)

Big wicket for England as Dilshan holes one in the deep to Hales. Lanka have a mountain to climb now. SL 3-1 in 0.3 overs.

Tillakaratne Dilshan c Hales b Willey 2 (2b 0x4 0x6) 

Dilshan and Chandimal begin proceedings for Lanka while Willey bowls.

ENGLAND INNINGS

A last ball six from from Stokes ensures England reach 171-4 in 20 overs. Buttler remains unbeaten on 66.

Sri Lanka just managed to get a wicket but with Buttler still there in the middle England can eye a big total as still four ball to be bowled. Eng 162-4 in 19.2 overs.

Eoin Morgan run out 22 (16b 1x4 1x6) 

Jos Buttler gets his half century from 28 deliveries consisting of seven boundaries and a six. Eng 146-3 in 18 overs.

Late charge from Buttler and Morgan. 32 runs coming off the last two overs. Eng 131-3 in 17 overs.

Roy departs as he is trapped by Vandersay. He was batting well and unlucky to miss out on a half century. Furious over the decision but replays show he was clearly out. Eng 88-3 in 12.5 overs.

Jason Roy lbw b Vandersay 42 (39b 3x4 2x6)

Lanka earn their second wicket as Root departs. Eng 65-2 in 10.1 overs.

Joe Root c Thirimanne b Vandersay 25 (24b 4x4 0x6)

Half way through the innings England are 65 for one. The partnership between Roy and Root reaches 61. Sri Lanka need some quick wickets here.

England reach 50 for 1 in 8 overs. Roy batting on 29, Root on 18. 

End of powerplay. England get two boundaries off the over as Root and Roy look well settled. Eng 38-1 in 6 overs.

England get two boundaries - one each from Root and Roy - off Herath bowling. Eng 19-1 in 4 overs.

Herath strikes in his very first over as he removes Hales. Hales struggled from the very first ball of Herath as he is trapped in front. Eng 4-1 in 1.4 overs.

Alex Hales lbw b Herath 0 (4b 0x4 0x6)

Mathews bowls a fine over giving away four runs in the first over. Eng 4-0 in 1 over

Jason Roy and Alex Hales open for England as Angelo Mathews bowl for Lanka.

Sri Lanka have won the toss and chose to field first in this crunch tie. 

TEAMS

ENGLAND: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett

SRI LANKA: Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Dushmantha Chameera, Rangana Herath, Jeffrey Vandersay

PREVIEW

Fresh from visiting the world's most beautiful monument, Joe Root said he would be happy for England to win ugly in Saturday's crunch World Twenty20 showdown against Sri Lanka.

Along with teammates David Willey, Jos Buttler and Liam Plunkett, Root spent Thursday visiting the Taj Mahal in northern India as the team tried to relax ahead of the must-win match in New Delhi.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of the match, England's premier batsman said dealing with pressure was part of the job and the team knew it can't afford any slip-ups against the title holders.

"There is always pressure. It's a must win game, but it's always been like that since we got here," said the Yorkshireman.

"The pressure is no more than it has been throughout the whole thing."

Although England pulled off a stunning win against South Africa last weekend when they set a new World T20 record for a successful run chase, their scratchy win over Afghanistan on Wednesday showed they are yet to fire on full cylinders.

Root admitted that England's batsmen and bowlers had yet to perform in unison but said the result rather than the quality of the performance was the main thing.

"We have absolutely not performed our best in the competition yet ... and the really pleasing thing for me is that we are finding ways of winning games of cricket," said Root.

"It's about getting across the line tomorrow."

Root has been England's best batsman in the tournament so far and his 83 off 44 balls was the highlight of an evening of astonishing stroke play against South Africa.

But he made just 12 against Afghanistan, part of a string of failures by the top-order who had a to rely on a cameo from Moeen Ali Root to save their blushes.

"If we're being honest then we have not done one part of our game consistently well. There have been times when we bowled extremely well and times when we have batted well.

"The exciting thing for me is when that comes together and when we can consistently do that then we would be a very hard side to beat."

England's players have sometimes been accused of letting developing a siege mentality on tour but the trip to the Taj gave a hint of the more relaxed atmosphere under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan.

"Being only three hours away in the car, it was a no-brainer for me again to experience a bit of India and to see one of the wonders of the world," said Root. "It was a really enjoyable day."

England are currently second in group four and are handily placed to reach the semi-finals by seeing off a Sri Lankan team which has been hit by injuries and retirements.

But they will want to record a decisive win with run-rate potentially coming into the equation to decide the outcome of a group which also includes the West Indies and South Africa.

Legends

Allrounder Thisara Perera said Friday Sri Lanka would take years to get over the retirement of batting legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene while warning that paceman Lasith Malinga was irreplaceable.

The defending champions have struggled to compile substantial totals in the ongoing World Twenty20 in India in the absence of Jayawardene and Sangakkara who have both retired since the 2014 triumph.

"Everybody knows they are legends and we will not be able to fill their place for the next five or six years, in my personal opinion," Perera said on the eve of a must-win match against England in New Delhi.

Now down at eight in the T20 rankings, Sri Lanka had a disastrous showing at the Asia Cup and came into the sixth edition of the T20 tournament after recently changing their coach and captain.

Following a less than convincing win over minnows Afghanistan in their opening encounter of the tournament, they were then badly beaten by the West Indies.

Their already slim hopes of defending their trophy suffered a further below after the start of the tournament when leading pace bowler Lasith Malinga withdrew from the squad after a knee injury.

Perera described the slingy Malinga as a one of a kind, saying a player such as him would "never, never come" again.

Perera, who bats left-handed and is a right-arm pacer, said Sri Lanka had to improve on Sunday's showing against the West Indies, when they lost by seven wickets, to stand any chance of beating England.

"We have to win the next match, otherwise we have to go home. We have to do something better than the last match," said Perera.

Sri Lanka's final match is against South Africa in New Delhi on Monday night but that tie will effectively be a dead rubber if they lose to England.

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