Sri Lanka hold nerve to edge South Africa; New Zealand beat England in rain-hit match

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 March, 2014, 1:49am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 March, 2014, 1:49am


Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara held their nerve in the death overs with miserly fast bowling as Sri Lanka beat South Africa by five runs in their World Twenty20 cricket opener in Chittagong on Saturday.

South Africa had the upper hand chasing 166 for victory in their group 1 super 10 match and needed 19 runs off the last two overs with five wickets in hand.

But Kulasekara gave away just four runs and picked up the wicket of Farhaan Behardien (five) to leave South Africa needing 15 runs off limited-overs specialist Malinga’s final over.

Dale Steyn (0) and the dangerous David Miller (19) were run out off the first two deliveries and although Imran Tahir (eight not out) managed a last-ball six, the chase had already gone out of South Africa’s reach.

JP Duminy (39) top-scored for the Proteas, who ended on 160 for eight, and off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake was the most successful Sri Lankan bowler with figures of two for 22.

Opener Kusal Perera’s assault gave Sri Lanka the tempo at the start of their innings and Angelo Mathews provided the late fireworks to lift them to 165 for seven after their captain Dinesh Chandimal had won the toss.

The diminutive Perera made clear his intentions with two fours and a six in three deliveries off Steyn’s opening over and brought up his fifty off just 29 balls.

He made 61 off 40 balls, including six fours and three sixes, before falling to leg-spinner Tahir, who stemmed the run flow and picked up three wickets for 26 runs.

Mathews was bowled by Steyn in the final over of the Sri Lanka innings but not before the test and 50-over captain had compiled 43 off 32 balls.

Meanwhile, New Zealand beat England by nine runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method after rain hit their match.

New Zealand were 52-1 in 5.2 overs when rain stopped play, ahead on run rate in response to England’s 172-6.

Brendum McCullum blasted two sixes and one four, with 16 runs taken off one Stuart Broad over, proving to be key in deciding the match’s fate after rain arrived.

For England, Moeen Ali top-scored with 36 off 23, hitting six fours and one six. Opener Michael Lumb scored 33 off 24, including four fours and one six.

Moeen Ali and Lumb added 72 after Kyle Mills struck with the third ball to dismiss Alex Hales for a duck. Jos Buttler added 32.

Ravi Bopara paced the innings at the death, contributing 24 not out. He was ably supported by Tim Bresnan, who struck 17 off eight balls.

Corey Anderson was the pick of the New Zealand battery with 2-32, while Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills, Nathan McCullum and Tim Southee picked up one wicket apiece.

Reuters, Associated Press