2023 ICC World Cup: Sri Lanka upset England by 8 wickets

Sri Lanka secured a crucial win in the 2023 ICC World Cup, defeating defending champions England by eight wickets. The win has elevated Sri Lanka’s position and placed England in further trouble.

The key to Sri Lanka’s dominating performance in Bengaluru was a strong partnership led by Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama, both of whom reached half-centuries. Lahiru Kamara’s three-wicket haul also played a crucial role in securing victory for Sri Lanka.

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England’s struggles continued as they suffered their fourth loss in five games, placing them near the bottom of the points table. On the other hand, Sri Lanka climbed to the fifth spot with two wins and four points. England’s prospects in the tournament seem bleak, especially with teams like India, South Africa, New Zealand in fine form, and Australia regaining their strength.

In their pursuit of 157 runs, Sri Lanka faced an early setback when opener Kusal Perera was dismissed for just four runs by David Willey, thanks to a fine catch by Ben Stokes. Skipper Kusal Mendis also disappointed, managing only 11 runs. At 23/2 in 5.2 overs, Sri Lanka was in a precarious position.

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However, Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama mounted a remarkable comeback. They reached the fifty-run mark in 8.5 overs and the hundred-run mark in 16.2 overs. Nissanka’s half-century, his fourth consecutive one in this tournament, tied him with the legendary Kumar Sangakkara for the most successive fifty-plus scores for Sri Lanka in tournament history. Samarawickrama also contributed with a half-century in 44 balls.

Nissanka sealed the victory with an impressive six in the 25.4th over. His unbeaten 77 runs and Samarawickrama’s 65 not out left England’s bowlers with no answers.

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Before Sri Lanka’s chase, Lahiru Kumara and Angelo Mathews delivered fiery spells to dismantle England’s strong batting lineup. The defending champions were bundled out for a mere 156 runs. Ben Stokes was the top scorer for England with 43 runs off 73 deliveries, while Jonny Bairstow contributed 30. The Sri Lankan bowlers, especially Lahiru Kumara and Angelo Mathews, were the architects of England’s downfall, bagging crucial wickets.

Opting to bat first, England’s openers Dawid Malan and Bairstow had given their team a solid start, accumulating 44 runs in less than six overs. However, Angelo Mathews made the breakthrough by dismissing Malan for 28 runs. Kasun Rajitha further dented England’s progress by removing Bairstow for 30.

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England’s batting order struggled, with wickets falling at regular intervals. Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes tried to maintain the scoreboard through singles and occasional boundaries, but Mathews claimed his second wicket by dismissing Moeen Ali. Stokes managed a few boundaries but eventually departed in the 31st over, hampering England’s chances of posting a substantial total.

Maheesh Theekshana quickly wrapped up the lower order, taking the wicket of Mark Wood and restricting England to 156 runs. The win places the Lankans back on track in the 2023 ICC World Cup.

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