A team that holds the record of most cricket world cup finals without winning one, England, booked their final berth yesterday for the 4th time in history and first since 1992.
Itsonlycricket had tipped England as one of main contenders of this West Indies world cup in 2010 and coach Andy Flowers boys have done justice to our preview. England have been in termendos form recently, reclaiming Ashes and then match South Africans in their own den both in tests and onedayers. Their progress through group stage was a rainy/unlucky one as hosts West Indies made 61 for 1 chasing solid 191 yet were adjudged winners based on Duckworth lewis method and the Ireland game was washed off.. England qualified only cause they had better runrate.
But in super 8s, England were simply superb, beating defending champions Pakistan and then mighty South Africans to become first team to qualify for semifinals and even then, intencity didn't go down as UK boys clinched dead-rubber victory over New Zealand. Now, yesterday in semifinals, in-form England cruise past Sri Lanka to book their 4th world cup final spot.
Toss had come down in Sri Lankan favour on a gloomy day with moisture filled pitch yet, Kumar Sangakkara elected to bat first, probably to give his mysterious spinners and slinging Malinga a total to defend. Sadly, experienced Sanath Jayasuriya continued his horrible form, was out off the 7th ball of the match and since then, Islanders were going only downhill.
Mahela Jayawardene, who scored most runs for Lanka in this tournament, had second faliure back to back and then Tillakaratane Dilshan fell to some accurate new ball bowling from Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom. Captain Sangakkara tried to do rebuilding job but he fell to Graeme Swann's offspin.
Sri Lanka were 50 for 4 in 10th over.
Angelo Mathews has said time and again that he's an allrounder, so wants to contribute with bat like he had in previous win over India and even today, his bat seemed to meet every ball with perfect timing. His half century came off 40 balls with a six and that took Sri Lankans past 100 run mark at 17.1 over mark. It was time for acceleration by Chamara Kapugedera and Mathews but they could compile only 28 off last 3 overs, thanks to Stuart Broad, the man of the match, for his 4 economical overs for just 21 runs and 2 crucial wickets.
England chase got yet another rocket start with Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb, both of whom had made their international debut in this tournament itself. Kieswetter, in his usual manner, cracked 2 sixes and 5 fours, dancing down the track to Lankan spinners, and opening stand of 68 nearly sealed the game for England.
Kevin Pietersen, a new dad, was back on duty and he finished up with an unbeaten 41.
The scoresSri Lanka 128 for 6 wickets in 20 overs
A Mathews 58, C Kapugedera 16, S Broad 2/21.
Englnd 132 for 3 wkts in 16 ovs (won by 7 wkts)
Kevin Pietersen 42, Craig Kieswetter 39, M Lumb 33
Full scorecard : Eng v SL, 1st semifinal, World T20.