Lankan Lions Prevailed Over English Lions
Majestic Malinga and magnificent Mathews glittered in their own special way as unfancied Lankan lions shocked the title aspirant England in low scoring match at Headingly, Leeds by 20 runs.
Batting first Lanka survived the fast and furious pace attack of England riding on quality innings of Mathews (85, Fernando (49) and Mendis (46). 232/9 was a below par score to defend. It appeared to end in a cake walk for England having so many inform quality batsmen.
But in cricket and love there can be anything conclusive. Slinger Malinga can still unleash his magical wand .His magical spell at the top and middle overs took the cream out of English batting. Left arm pacer Udana also varied his pace and took two important wicket.
Part time off spinner DM de Silva served the knock out punch taking 3 wickets in 9 balls at crunch time. Oxygen was removed from English innings. Even a heroic effort of Ben Stokes (82*) proved not enough for anchoring England back to the bank of English ocean.
Sri Lanka won by 20 runs. Every one wrote Sri Lanka off as ranked outsider. But with 6 points in 6 matches they are back in contention. Who knows, whether there will be more dramas or not? Position of England however with 8 points from six matches became a bit jittery.
The wicket appeared a bit slow and low. Odd balls were gripping. Yet with Archer and Wood clocking 150 kmph it was not at all easy for young Sri Lankan batsmen though brilliant sunshine kept the swing to manageable level.
Archer and Wood accounted for Karunaratne and Perera early in the innings reducing Sri Lanka to 2/2. Young Fernando (49) and Mendis (46) counter attacked. Fernando played few delightful, some magnificent straight and cover drives, few hooks and pulls. Mendis also looked solid.
But there innings did not last long as English bowlers kept probing. Experienced Mathews (85) anchored the innings and playing confidently he took the score to a respectable level of 232/9. Wood (3/40), Archer (3/42) and Adil Rashid (2/45) combined to restrict Sri Lanka to a chase able target. At mid day Sri Lanka score was considered at least 25-30 too less.
However, in a do or die situation premiere Lankan bowler Malinga, the magician unleashed his magical spell. Bairstow was gone in the very first over, Vince in the seventh. Root and Morgan stayed for a while. Left Arm pacer removed Morgan and Root was accounted for by Malinga. When Malinga sent back Buttler for naught panic set in English camp.
Part time off spinner DM de Silva created tremor in English batting taking three wickets in 9 balls. That proved crucial, as the best of Ben Stokes 82 not out in 89 deliveries proved not enough. England was all out for 212 and lost by 20 runs.
Malinga taking 4/ 43 was adjudged player of the match. He took the wickets of Bairstow, Vince, Root and Buttler. He had his magical in swinging Yorkers going. Part Time off spinner DM de Silva (3/52) turned the table with three quick wickets at crunch time.
Left Arm pacer Udana (2/41) also bowled well varying his pace intelligently. His slower deliveries gripped.
This was the second defeat of England. They earlier lost to Pakistan. India and New Zealand are better placed than England losing no matches and Australia is sitting on the top with 10 points from 6 matches. The position of England with 8 points from 6 matches, appear a bit vulnerable now.
Sri Lanka with this win is elevated to 5th position with 6 points from 6 matches giving them an outside chance. The win again proved the glorious uncertainty of the game of cricket. No team should be taken for granted.
ICC World Cup 2019 Match 27 Played at Leeds, Headingly on 21 June
Sri Lanka vs England
Brief Score Card
Sri Lanka 232/9 (AD Mathews 85, WA Fernando 49, BKG Mendis 46, de Silva 29, MA Wood 3/40, JC Archer 3/52, AJ Rashid 2/45) beat England 212 All Out (BA Stokes 82* , JE Root 57,EJG Morgan 21, SL Malinga 4/43, de Silva 3/52,I Udana 2/41) by 20 Runs.
Player of The Match: SL Malinga.