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T20 World Cup: England Qualify For Semi-Finals, Beat Sri Lanka By 4 Wickets

England beat Sri Lanka by four wickets to qualify for the semifinals of the T20 World Cup on Saturday (5 Nov). Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 141 for 8, riding on Pathum Nissanka’s 45-ball 67 and Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s run-a-ball 22. In response, England achieved the target with two balls to spare, scoring 144 for six in 19.4 overs.

Jos Buttler, the captain of England, says that it was not a great watch but he knew they have to find a way and he is glad that they did it in the end. He is delighted with the batting of Ben Stokes who according to him can fulfil all the roles and is a proper competitor. Adds that Sri Lanka got off to a great start but it was a good over from Adil Rashid in the Powerplay that pulled things back for them. Regarding Sam Curran, Jos replies that he keeps on growing and is becoming a fierce competitor. Praises Alex Hales for his knock and adds that one of them would have loved to stay till the end. He is excited to find a way to win this game and is looking forward to the semi-final at one of the best stadiums in the world.

Dasun Shanaka, the captain of Sri Lanka, says that it was an amazing fight but feels that they could have done better with the bat. Adds that the pitch played a part in this game and even the English batters struggled in the latter part. Tells that they gave a good fight in the last 10 overs and it was in the Powerplay where they didn’t bowl well. States that they played good cricket in patches and a few injuries didn’t help their cause. Wants his team to polish the areas where they didn’t do well. Praises the spinners for their good effort and also lauds the efforts of the pacers in this game. Further says that power-hitting is one area they need to get better and he is pleased with the way they have been fielding of late. Shanka thanks the colourful and wonderful spectators for supporting Sri Lanka.

Player of the Match is Adil Rashid for his economical bowling. The leggie says that it was a tight game after they bowled exceptionally well. Praises Ben Stokes for his knock and is relieved that they crossed the line. Tells that the Sri Lankan bowlers created pressure by bowling dot balls and thankfully England crossed the line. Calls it a great team effort and feels that England bowled superbly. Mentions that it’s always good for the bowlers to get some assistance. States that he has felt good about his form throughout and his job is to do good for the team and as long as they are winning, it’s fine even if he is not picking wickets. Thinks that they will get a fresh pitch for the semi-final and they will have to assess the conditions. Hopes to get good support in Adelaide.

Earlier in the game, Dasun Shanaka won the toss and like every other captain before him, decided to bat first at the SCG. Sri Lanka were cruising through at the halfway mark but the English bowlers made a resounding comeback in the second half of the Lankan innings. Pathum Nissanka picked up his second half-century of the tournament while Adil Rashid proved to be influential for England with the ball. Mark Wood also picked up 3 wickets after being taken to the cleaners in his first over and those wickets at the death gave England all the momentum heading into the break. In reply, Jos Buttler and Alex Hales added 75 runs for the opening wicket and put England on top before the Sri Lankan spinners made a fabulous comeback by picking up regular wickets. It was Ben Stokes though who was able to stay on till the end and see his team through.

The result eliminated defending champions Australia from the tournament. On the other hand, if India wins over Zimbabwe tomorrow (6 Nov), then there will be a semi-final match between England vs India.

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