CHITTAGONG: Sri Lanka breezed into the World Twenty20 semi-finals after left-arm spinner Rangana Herath bowled them to a 59-run victory over New Zealand in a decisive match in Chittagong yesterday.
Playing his first match of the tournament proper, the spinner remarkably claimed five wickets for three runs as New Zealand managed only 60 in 15.3 overs.
With the victory, Sri Lanka joined South Africa in the last four from Group One.
New Zealand began their chase one batsman short after all-rounder Corey Anderson dislocated a finger trying to take a catch.
Herath took four wickets in his first three overs to leave the Kiwis reeling at 29 for five in the eighth over.
Right-handed Kane Williams (42), the only Kiwi batsman to manage double digits, tried his best to offer some resistance but could not stop New Zealand from folding for their lowest total in 20-over cricket.
Leading Sri Lanka in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal, who served a one-match ban for his team’s second over-rate offence in 12 months, Lasith Malinga initially watched in dismay as Trent Boult wrecked his top order with a three-wicket burst.
Earlier, left-arm paceman Trent Boult and Jimmy Neesham took three wickets apiece to wreck Sri Lanka for a paltry 119.
Boult’s career best 3-20 was ably assisted by Neesham (3-22) and Mitchell McClenaghan (2-24) as Sri Lanka, sent into bat, were bowled out in 19.2 overs on a slow Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium pitch.
Boult had opener Kusal Perera (16) in his first over and then dismissed Tillakaratne Dilshan (eight) and Kumar Sangakkara (four) to give New Zealand a headstart to the match, the winner of which will join South Africa in the semi-finals from Group one.
India have already qualified for the semis from Group two while Pakistan and the West Indies square off in Dhaka today to decide the fourth team in the semis.
Mahela Jayawardene, who top-scored with 32-ball 25, added 30 for the fourth wicket Lahiru Thirimanne (20) before the former captain was bowled round his legs in the 15th over.
Thisara Perera hit three boundaries in his 13-ball 16 before Neesham took three wickets in 14 balls to rout the pre-tournament favourites. West Indies are the defending champions.