Before the start of the contest, nobody gave them a chance, however, Sri Lanka have managed to pull of the unthinkable. The Lankans have upset the World Cup 2019 favourites, England, registering a sensational 20-run victory at the Headingley, Leeds. The England fast bowling pair of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood delivered brilliantly well with the ball, but still Angelo Mathews also played a fine unbeaten innings to take Sri Lanka towards a fighting total.
In the second innings, the Lankan bowlers never looked like they were defending a pretty modest first innings total as they continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals. In the end, Ben Stokes remained unbeaten at one end playing a terrific innings, but on the other side, his team drowned under the pressure of a clinical bowling effort led by Lasith Malinga.
Wood and Archer's fine work restricts Sri Lanka to 232
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Sri Lanka got off to a disappointing start losing two early wickets in the form of both the openers, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera. The duo of Kusal Mendis and Avishka Fernando got together to settle down things with a fine partnership of 59 runs. However, both Fernando and Mendis missed out on their respective fifties, leaving Sri Lanka in a spot of bother once again at 133 for 5.
Lanka's most experienced batsman Angelo Mathews then took the onus to lead his team's progress further in the innings. He notched up a fine half-century which was his first of the tournament, while at the other end, the England bowlers kept picking wickets at regular intervals. Towards the end, Mathews compiled a brilliant unbeaten knock of 85 runs to stretch Sri Lanka's total to 232 runs in their quota of 50 overs. For England, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood bowled exceptionally well to pick up three scalps each.
Stokes’ fighting effort goes in vain
Chasing a stiff target of 233 runs, England also got off to a poor start, losing both their openers, Jonny Bairstow and James Vince quite early with just 26 runs on the scoreboard. After the early jitters, the pair of Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan combined together to resurrect the England innings with a brief stand of 47 runs. Isuru Udana then took an amazing catch of his own bowling to send back the England skipper in the 19th over. However, Root looked in solid touch at the other end, notching up yet another half-century and continued his brilliant run in the showpiece event.
Just when things looked in control of the English team, Lasith Malinga brought a massive moment in the game by dismissing first Root and then Jos Buttler as well to bring Sri Lanka back in the frame. England’s problem increased further as Dhananjaya de Silva bowled amazingly well to pick up three quick wickets and in turn left the opposition reeling at 170 for 8.
Jofra Archer coming in at 10 also got out pretty quickly while attempting a big shot leaving the entire onus of the chase on the shoulders of Ben Stokes, who was batting well set after racking up his second half-century of the tournament. He brought back England’s hopes by smacking Udana for two brilliant sixes, but not before Pradeep dismissed Mark Wood and helped Sri Lanka pick up an unbelievable win.
Stokes remained unbeaten at a terrific 82-run knock, while Malinga was the pick of the Lankan bowlers picking four crucial wickets. Dhananjaya de Silva also claimed three vital scalps.
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