Friday, February 23

ODI World Cup: England’s title defence blown after 8-wicket loss to Sri Lanka

The England innings against Sri Lanka in the ODI World Cup lasted just under three hours, and during that time the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium crowd felt as though they were being made to sit through a dreadful novel.

Not one batter tried to interact with the crowd. There was little effort to develop a story, and the ideas were not coherent. It was like reading old, awkward writing.

It was expected that Jos Buttler’s team would lose by eight wickets on Thursday in a crucial ODI World Cup match. There is almost little chance that England will advance to the semifinals as their championship defence is currently in ruins.

Nissanka manoeuvred through the English bowling by punching, whipping, cutting, and driving. He reached his fifty with a magnificent drive off Mark Wood. He was the one who ended England’s miserable evening by smashing Rashid for a magnificent six over long-on.

Earlier in the afternoon, the English openers faced a challenging early phase after deciding to bat. Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan played and missed, while Dilshan Madushanka found his swing. Leg-before the first ball, Bairstow might have been out, but Lanka declined to review.

However, the pair steadied themselves, pierced the off-side for a couple of delicious boundaries, and scored 45 runs. But the guy with the golden arm, Lanka’s Angelo Mathews, was back. After being brought in, he made Malan nick one behind from the third ball, assisted in running out Joe Root, and extracted Moeen.

The victory will feel like oxygen to Sri Lanka. While England attempted to turn the chase into a match, they were reduced from 157 to 23 for two. However, 137 brilliant runs were scored by Pathum Nissanka (77 n.o., 83b, 7×4, 2×6) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (65 n.o., 54b, 7×4, 1×6) to lead Sri Lanka to its second tournament championship and sixth consecutive ODI World Cup victory over England.

From the first ball he encountered, Samarawickrama played a textbook cover drive that established the tone. After that, the 28-year-old lifted Adil Rashid and reverse-swept Moeen Ali to reach his half-century off of 44 balls.

Kusal Mendis produced a brilliant catch behind the wickets off Lahiru Kumara (three for 35), ending Buttler’s miserable run. In addition, the captain made a brilliant run-out when he stopped Rashid for backing up too far at the non-striker’s end after collecting the ball down the leg-side.

In addition to playing a single hand (43, 73b, 6×4), Ben Stokes received assistance when Samarawickrama was on 12 and was unable to hang on to a difficult opportunity at backward-point. But something more than his powerful blade proven to be a resurrection act.

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