Sri Lanka reignited ICC World Cup 2023 ambitions, toppling defending champions England in a decisive eight-wicket victory, complicating the latter’s prospects for a semi-final berth.
In pursuit of a rather attainable target of 157, Sri Lanka’s start was momentarily shaken by the loss of two upfront wickets. However, the game witnessed a strategic shift in momentum led by Pathum Nissanka’s unbeaten 77 and Sadeera Samarawickrama’s 65 not out. The duo meticulously constructed a 137-run stand for the third wicket, thwarting England’s initial advances, particularly from David Willey, who secured 2-30.
This calculated approach secured Sri Lanka’s second win, propelling them to fifth place in the standings and pushing England precariously down to ninth, teetering above only the Netherlands.
England’s Faltering Performance Under Pressure
Earlier, England’s batsmen failed to leverage the conditions at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, crumbling for a meagre 156 runs within 33.2 overs. The innings lacked the necessary tenacity, with only Ben Stokes making a noteworthy contribution of 43 runs amidst a faltering batting line-up. His aggressive stance against the Sri Lankan bowlers seemed promising until his dismissal in the deep by Dushan Hemantha on Lahiru Kumara’s delivery.
The bowlers, led by Lahiru Kumara (3-35), later declared the man of the match, and the seasoned Angelo Mathews (2-14), systematically dismantled England’s resistance. Returning as an injury replacement, Mathews demonstrated his invaluable experience, making critical strikes and assisting in a pivotal run-out.
Sri Lanka’s Disciplined Bowling Overshadows England
During the middle overs, Sri Lanka’s disciplined bowling approach proved to be a game-changer. They significantly slowed England’s run rate, triggering a collapse that began with Dawid Malan’s dismissal by Mathews and spiralled further as Kumara clinched two quick wickets. This relentless pressure from Sri Lanka left England’s batting order in disarray, ultimately leading to their lowest total in Bengaluru.
The comprehensive defeat left England’s captain, Jos Buttler, visibly disheartened, reflecting on the team’s overall subpar performance in the tournament. Despite acknowledging the consistent efforts, Buttler emphasized the gap between the team’s potential and their current play, ending with introspection and the aspiration for improvement.