Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath produced a dream spell of five wickets for just three runs as Sri Lanka recorded a crushing 59-run victory over New Zealand in a dramatic Super 10 match to qualify for the semifinals of the World Twenty20 here today.
Herath turned the virtual knock-out match on its head by grabbing five wickets for just three runs in a sensational spell while also being instrumental in a runout which opened the floodgates as Sri Lanka defended a small total of 119 all out in their last Group 1 match.
New Zealand were shot out for just 60 in 15.3 overs, the third lowest total in Twenty20 International history.
Herath’s 5/3 was the third best ever figures by a bowler in Twenty20 Internationals behind team-mate Ajantha Mendis’ twin efforts of 6/8 and 6/16.
With today’s result at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Sri Lanka finished on top of Group 1 on net run rate though they ended their Super 10 engagements on same six points with South Africa.
Sri Lanka will now take on Group 2 runners-up team, which will be decided after tomorrow’s match between West Indies and Pakistan, on April 3 at Mirpur. Group 2 winners India will take on Group 1 runners-up South Africa on April 4, also at Mirpur.
New Zealand suffered a jolt even before their run chase as their key player Corey Anderson was taken to hospital after dislocating his finger while attempting a catch during Sri Lanka innings. Anderson did not come out to bat.
Chasing a small total of 120, New Zealand seemed to be on course for a semifinal spot as they reached 18 for no loss at the end of second over.
But the drama unfolded in the very first ball of the third over bowled by Herath as New Zealand opener Martin Guptill ran for a single without response from his partner Kane Williamson. Herath was lightning quick to throw the ball to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara who whipped off the bail in a flash.
Five balls later, one-down and captain Brendon McCullum was done in by a beauty of a delivery from Herath as it deceived the batsman by its flight. McCullum came out of his crease to smash the ball only to be beaten and the rest left to Sangakkara as Sri Lanka bounced back into the match.
Herath immediately came back for his second over and dismissed Ross Taylor and Jimmy Neesham for ducks in the last two consecutive deliveries of the sixth over and New Zealand were sent into the backfoot.
Taylor was adjudged LBW while Neesham’s leg-stump was disturbed after he played across to a tossed—up delivery bowled from round the wicket which spun and went through the gap between pad and bat.
New Zealand, who also suffered a jolt after their key player Corey Anderson could not turn up for batting as he was hospitalised after dislocated his finger were reduced to 23 for four then as Herath bowled two wicket-maiden overs.
Herath continued his exploits and though he missed his hat-trick chance, he reduced New Zealand in tatters by dismissing Luke Ranchi (2) in his third over and overall eight to end his first spell of three overs with figures of four wickets for two runs.
Off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake then dismissed Nathan McCullum (2) in the 10th over as New Zealand run chase went haywire at 33 for six at the halfway mark.
Senanayake then dismissed Kyle Mills (4) in the 14th over and opener Kane Williamson, who top-scored for New Zealand with a 42, was run out in the first ball of the 16th over bowled by Herath who then claimed the wicket of Trent Boult (3) to end the New Zealand innings.
Earlier, pacers Trent Boult and Jimmy Neesham claimed three wickets each to wreck havoc on Sri Lankan batsmen as New Zealand shot them out for just 119 in their must-win match.
Boult (3/20) rocked the Sri Lankan top order before Neesham (3/22) sent the lower order packing as New Zealand pacers produced a brilliant performance to put their side on a strong position.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka slumped to 35 for three in the sixth over with Boult producing a brilliant pace-bowling spell and they never recovered from there on.