Malinga’s five-wicket blitz puts England on plane home
ENGLAND came up short in defence of their ICC World Twenty20 title, losing by 19 runs to hosts Sri Lanka to go out of the competition. Stuart Broad’s team spluttered to 18 for three, against Lasith Malinga and, despite a maiden Twenty20 international half-century from Samit Patel, could not sustain a recovery in pursuit of 169 for six at Pallekele.
Sri Lanka hit seven sixes in all and go through to the semi-finals, alongside the West Indies, who defeated New Zealand earlier in a thrilling Super Over after their match was tied.
Endland’s batting effort was undermined from the outset as Malinga took three wickets in his first over on his way to a career-best five for 31 in this format.
England twice briefly threatened to put themselves back in contention. But in the end, even with a late hand from Graeme Swann to help narrow the margin, Patel (67) was left with too much to do on his own.
No Sri Lanka batsman had been able to single-handedly dominate, after being put in under lights, Broad (three for 32) faring best of the England bowlers. But each kept hitting big shots and, once Malinga got to work, it all proved far too much for the 2010 champions who had rarely convinced in a stuttering group campaign.
Broad said after the match: “We’re really disappointed, but the guys have tried really hard in these few weeks here. But we’ve learnt a huge amount and as long as we can take lots away from it, that’s all we can ask.
“We need to keep wickets in hand at the top. Today proved we’ve got good strikers at the end who can get us close. Obviously losing three in an over hurt us quite a bit – any time a bowler takes five wickets against you in Twenty20 he’s going to come out on the winning side. Also our death bowling – we didn’t get that quite right and that’s something we need to work on.”
Broad picked out Patel and seamer Steven Finn, who took eight wickets in the tournament, as the bright spots for England. “I think Steven Finn’s been fantastic for us in this tournament,” he said. “Samit played really well, played the spinners well and got us in a position we could possibly have won the game from.”
Mahela Jayawardene played and missed at some early drives but then batted serenely, as he almost always does, to help his team to 74 for one at the halfway mark. Swann put the brakes on in the 11th over with two wickets, including Jayawardene, and Sri Lanka had to start again with two men in on nought.
But Jeevan Mendis immediately swept and then slog-swept Swann for boundaries and, at the other end, Angelo Mathews climbed into two off-drives for boundaries off Broad.
After the fourth-wicket pair shared a half-century stand in five overs, Broad returned to become the second England bowler to put himself on a hat-trick. He had Mendis mis-pulling to midwicket, and then Mathews edging on to his stumps as he tried the same shot.
Once more, two new batsmen were in on nought. But again, they flourished and Thisara Perera especially, with some muscular hitting, gave the hosts the edge at the interval.
Then Malinga struck with his three-wicket burst in his first over and England seemed all but done, chasing 170. Patel, along with Eoin Morgan then Swann, did his best to claw back some ground for the defending champions, but the mountain was too high.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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