England rode on the experience of Ben Stokes as they scampered their way to the T20 World Cup semi-finals with a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka, the result ending reigning champions and hosts Australia’s campaign in the tournament.
Sri Lankan opener Pathum Nissanka smashed a 45-ball 67 to emerge as the top-scorer, while Bhanuka Rajapaksa hit a run-a-ball 22. For England, Mark Wood (3/26) claimed three wickets, while Ben Stokes (1/24), Chris Woakes (1/24), Sam Curran (1/27) and Adil Rashid (1/16) took one each.
Chasing a tricky target on a dry SCG wicket, Alex Hales (47; 30b) and skipper Jos Buttler (28; 23b) produced a ruthless opening partnership of 75 runs from 43 balls.
From there, they just needed 67 from 77 balls but in no time, half of the English side were down with crafty spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2/23) once again triggering a collapse. He dismissed the English openers in addition of just seven runs, before the likes of Dhananjaya de Silva (2/24) and Lahiru Kumara (2/24) got into the act.
After rain proved to be a dampener in the Australia-England clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground earlier in the Super 12, the Aussies ended their group stage campaign with seven points, and their semifinal hopes rested on a Lankan win over the Englishmen.