By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka’s disastrous world cup campaign ended with further defeat in the final one by 5 wickets to New Zealand who thus enhanced their semi-final chances at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru yesterday. New Zealand was in the reckoning up by 10 points with a net run rate (NRR) of 0.743. It left Pakistan needing to beat England by 287 runs, while Afghanistan needed a near impossible 438-run win over South Africa to go past New Zealand’s NRR.
It also left Sri Lanka in ninth place in a failed bid to qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy which has left the former world champions in a hopeless situation of their chances depending on virtual vain hope that England or Bangladesh suffer defeats and Netherlands to lose to India so that their Net Run Rates drop below Sri Lanka’s.
Put into bat, the Lankans folded up for 171 in a total that reached that much even thanks to a last wicket partnership of 43 between Maheesh Theekshana, who was unbeaten on 38 off 91 balls inclusive of 3 boundaries, and Dilshan Madushanka 19 off 48 with 2 boundaries. The pair came together with the score a pathetic 128 for 9 following another top order collapse sparked by a 3-wicket burst by New Zealand’s prime pacer Trent Boult who accounted for Kusal Mendis 6, Sadeera Samarawickrama 1 and Charith Asalanka 8. Kusal Janith Perera top scored with a quick-fire 51 off 28 hitting 9 boundaries and 2 sixes, but once again top order inconsistency proved to be Sri Lanka’s downfall that underlined a long drawn failure of perfection for all the foreign expertise knowhow at a big price.
New Zealand got home with 160 balls to spare anchored by Devon Conway 45 off 42 inclusive of 9 boundaries, Daryl Mitchell 43 off 31 with 5 boundaries and 2 sixes and Rachin Ravindra 42 off 34 with 3 over the top and an equal number of boundaries.
Sri Lanka 171 (46.4 Overs) RR: 3.66
(Kusal Janith Perera 51,Pathum Nissanka 2, Maheesh Theekshana n.o. 38, Dhananjaya de Silva 19,
Angelo Mathews 16, Dilshan Madushanka 19, Trent Boult 3/37, Rachin Ravindra
2/21, Mitchell Santner 2/22, Lockie Ferguson 2/35, Tim Southee 1/42)
New Zealand 172/5 (23.2 Overs) RR: 7.37
(Devon Conway 45, Daryl Mitchell 43, Rachin Ravindra 42, Kane Williamson 14,
Glenn Philips n.o. 17, Tom Latham n.o. 2, Angelo Mathews 2/29, Dushmantha
Chameera 1/20, Maheesh Theekshana 1/43)