The Dimuth Karunaratne-led Sri Lankan team stunned hosts and hot favourites England to throw the World Cup 2019 wide open. High-flying England were the favourites to win the game but Sri Lanka put up one of their best performances in recent years to win the thriller in Leeds. The Islanders won the game by 20 runs to register their second win of the tournament and leave England in a tight spot.
England were looking primed to win the clash after restricting Sri Lanka to a modest 232 for 9. Angelo Mathews scored a defiant unbeaten 85 but lack of support from the other end meant they ended up on with a modest total. England, who had scored 397 in their previous outing, were tipped by the majority to chase down the total with ease. However, Sri Lanka were not ready to throw in the towel yet.
Lasith Malinga starred with the ball by picking up four crucial wickets. He sent back both of England’s openers – Jonny Bairstow and James Vince – for just 26 runs. The veteran pacer later accounted for Jos Buttler and Joe Root to put his team right on top of the contest.
When Ben Stokes was joined by last man Mark Wood, England still needed 47. At that stage, it looked all over for England. However, Stokes hammered 23 from eight deliveries to turn the games on its head. But on the final ball of the 47th over, Wood edged Nuwan Pradeep behind to leave Stokes stranded on 82 not out and England 212 all out.
World Cup is alive
Former Indian batsman Virender Sehwag lavished praise on Sri Lanka for their win and said that the tournament is now alive. Pointing out the tough road ahead for England, Sehwag tweeted:
“Excellent performance from Sri Lanka to beat England. England have India, Australia and New Zealand to play with and will have to win 2 out of these 3. World Cup is alive #EngvSL”
Excellent performance from Sri Lanka to beat England.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 21, 2019
England have India, Australia and New Zealand to play with and will have to win 2 out of these 3.
World Cup is alive #EngvSL