New Zealand cruised past Sri Lanka with a five-wicket win in the ongoing 41st match of the ongoing World Cup 2023 on Thursday, also pushing Pakistan to the brink of elimination from the mega event.
The Kiwis thumped the Islanders, chasing the target of 172 runs in just 23.2 overs at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India and have a step into the semi-final of the tournament.
Devon Conway started with a bang and scored 45 off 42 before losing his wicket to Dusmantha Chameira.
Rachin Ravindra proved to be yet another Kiwi batsman who missed out on a half-century as he fell victim to Maheesh Theekshana for 42 runs.
Kane Williamson got out after scoring 14 runs as he tried to play to point Angelo Mathews but an inside edge caught him. Mark Chapman was run out after 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 looked to hit a maximum when New Zealand needed just 10 runs to win the match.
However, Glenn Phillips and Tom Latham led their side to an important win as they chased down the target of 172 runs in 23.2 overs.
New Zealand’s win put them in a dominant position to qualify for the World Cup semi-final as they improved their net run rate (NRR) to 0.743.
Going in first, the Sri Lankan bowlers struggled from the start having lost their top three bowlers — Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama — in 4.4 overs, leaving their team 32-3.
However, Kusal Perera did not buckle under the pressure and started attacking the Kiwis bowlers as he played a quick knock, scoring 51 off 28 balls thanks to nine fours and two sixes.
With a lack of support at the other end, Perera ended up losing his wicket in 9.3 overs, leaving Sri Lanka in dire straits 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 into 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 remaining at the crease.
It looked like the islanders would be all out before reaching the 150-run mark, but the resilient partnership of Theekshana and Madhushanka cruised with them to post 171 runs before being run out.
The two put on a 43-run partnership with Theekshana creating history by playing the most balls among No. 9 to 11 batsmen in World Cup history after playing an impressive 91 balls.
It was an all-round display from New Zealand bowlers with Trent Boult picking three, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Sudner and Racine Ravindra taking two while Tim Southee could get a wicket to his name.
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