NEW DELHI: New Zealand eased past Sri Lanka in a five-wicket win in the 41st match of the ongoing World Cup 2023 on Thursday, also pushing Pakistan to the brink of elimination from the mega event.
The Kiwis hammered the Islanders, chasing down the 172-run target in just 23.2 overs at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, India and have one step in the event’s semi-final.
Devon Conway started with a blast and scored 45 off 42 before losing his wicket to Dushmantha Chameera.
Rachin Ravindra turned out to be another Kiwi batter to miss out on a half-century as he became the victim of Maheesh Theekshana for 42 runs.
Kane Williamson got out after scoring 14 runs as he was trying to play towards point Angelo Mathews but an inside edge got his bowled. Mark Chapman was run out following a misunderstanding with Daryl Mitchell for just seven runs. Mitchell scored 43 off 31 with seven boundaries but ended up losing his wicket as he was trying to hit a maximum when New Zealand just required 10 runs to win the match.
However, Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham led their side to an important win as they chased down the 172-run target in 23.2 overs.
New Zealand’s win has put them in a dominating seat to qualify for the World Cup semi-final as they have improved their net run rate (NRR) to 0.743.
Batting first, Sri Lanka players struggled from the start having lost their top three players — Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama — in 4.4 overs leaving their side 32-3.
However, Kusal Perera didn’t give in to the pressure and started attacking the Kiwis’ bowlers as he played a rapid knock, scoring 51 off 28 balls courtesy of nine fours and two sixes.
Due to no support from the other end, Perera ended up losing his wicket in 9.3 overs, leaving Sri Lanka in a tough condition at 70-5.
Veteran Angelo Mathews (16) and Dhanajaya de Silva (19) provided some stability but their knocks were not enough to take Mendis’ men to a competitive total.
Wickets kept falling and the Islanders were soon 128-9 in 32.1 overs with two tailenders, Maheesh Theekshana and Dilshan Madhushanka still on the crease.
It looked like the Islanders would be all-out before reaching the 150-run mark but Theekshana and Madhushanka’s resilient partnership cruised their side to post 171-runs before they were bundled out.
The two built a 43-run partnership with Theekshana creating history by playing the most balls among No. 9 to 11 batters in World Cup history after playing whopping 91-balls.
It was an all-round display by New Zealand bowlers with Trent Boult picking three, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Santner and Rachin Ravindra bagging two while Tim Southee could get one wicket to his name.