NZ v SL, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 31, 2014

Herath spins New Zealand out of WT20 with 5 for 3


Sri Lanka 119 (Boult 3-20) beat New Zealand 60 (Williamson 42, Herath 5-3) by 59 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Crowe: Herath immaculate from ball one

Rangana Herath sprung from Sri Lanka's dugout, watched his team-mates collapse, then crafted a Twenty20 spell of astounding quality to slam New Zealand into a wall, claiming five wickets for three runs as Sri Lanka defended 119 and made the semi-finals. He arrived at the bowling crease in the third over, delivered a wicket maiden first up, and had three scalps before New Zealand scored a run off him. By the end of his three-over spell, New Zealand were 30 for 5 - effectively 6, as a dislocated finger prevented Corey Anderson from batting. Kane Williamson batted gamely, hitting 42 off 43 - the game's top score - but he could not overcome the carnage at the other end.

The dew Brendon McCullum had expected at the toss in this must-win game did not materialise, and though an attack led by Trent Boult justified his decision to chase, his batsmen were stunned to a stall in the Powerplay. They managed 60 for 9 in 15.3 overs, as Sachithra Senanayake and poor running contributed the remaining wickets.

One of those run-outs would provide Sri Lanka and Herath the opening they had been desperate for, with at least 30 runs too few on the board. Martin Guptill pushed a full Herath delivery gently towards mid -on, and though he set off for the single immediately, Williamson did not respond. Herath collected, turned and threw smartly to complete that first wicket, but it would be his next 11 balls that truly defined the match.

Brendon McCullum was kept scoreless for four balls before Herath tossed one up slow and wide, reading McCullum's advance, before he spun Ross Taylor in his web next over. Taylor survived a plumb lbw shout, but was out to a straighter one immediately. James Neesham played all around one that straightened, and when Luke Ronchi was trapped in front by another straightening ball next over, New Zealand had been knocked breathless.

Crucially, the top-order collapse had been dramatic enough to subdue New Zealand's typically-ebullient middle order. Nathan McCullum hit two runs from his first eight balls before clipping Senanayake straight to short midwicket, before Senanayake trapped Kyle Mills in front with one that replays suggested would head down leg.

The required rate had spiked higher than 12 when Herath returned for his final over, and the wicket that sealed the victory came in fitting fashion. Herath not only completed his five-wicket-haul when Trent Boult hit one to slip, the catch was also gobbled by Mahela Jayawardene, who despite what the teamsheet stated, was Sri Lanka's captain on the night. He had kept a short leg and slip to the spinners, after Brendon McCullum had been similarly aggressive with his fields in the first innings.

If Herath had been the exemplary spinner, New Zealand's attack had earlier shown how to bowl seam on such pitches. Boult found movement in the air and off the surface, pitching up to the left-hand batsmen as he shaped it away and back-of-a-length to the right-hand batsmen, cramping them. Dilshan had been struggling for timing throughout the tournament, and his tortured innings came to an end when he scooped one high into the keeper's gloves in the third over. Sangakkara was limp in his 11-ball knock, and the middle order would crumble around Jayawardene, who did not appear fluent himself.

New Zealand fielded superbly as Neesham, Mitchell McClenaghan and Nathan McCullum bowled impeccable lines through the middle overs. Nathan would taunt Jayawardene into the sweep that ended his innings, and left Sri Lanka at 85 for 6 at the end of the 15th over.

Sri Lanka batted deep, with Senanayake coming in at No. 9, and it was his strike to long-on that would cause Anderson's injury on the rope, as the fielder palmed a relatively straightforward catch over the boundary.

New Zealand were energetic at the change-of-innings, feeling, perhaps rightly, that they had a terrific chance, but it was to be Herath and Sri Lanka that earned their sixth straight semi-final in ICC events.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Surya on April 2, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    This is absolute gem from Herath, producing the best figures of T20 cricket in a virtual quater-final, Take a bow Herath!!! Hope WI vary of it!!!

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2014, 5:54 GMT

    @vkias.. It's quite funny to see you talking about sportsmanship lol.. what i saw in the game before Nz and Sl and as well as at the moment is your true spirit of bashing the most feared opponent of yours. you had to eat your own words day before yesterday, and i keep suggesting you to continue the same until tomorrow. it will be great joy for us again to see you eaten you own words again lol

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    @ksquared - Francis does have a point - we lack true batting matchwinners - most of our match winning performances are by bowlers Malinga Herath Mendis Nuwan etc. Batting match winning performances like bravo and Sammy bated yesterday are rare. We don't have genuine matchwinners like Sanath Kalu Ara Arjuna or even Gura. Kusal is the only guy with some potential to be a genuine match winner and maybe Angie. Our oppositions only fear Kusal to an extent.

  • Indian on April 2, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Since Srilankans give so much importance about the warm up match win over India, I want to remind them that WI butchered them in one of the warm up match. Even Legend Sangakkara had no clue about Narine's bowling, WI batting is looking better than SL. On any given day Narine and Badre are fa better that Herath. Whats happening to Sangakkara and Dilshan.. sanga is over appealing enen for wide balls and dishan not accepting and trying to make a fool of himself and his dilscoop

  • sameera on April 2, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    @vkias Sl deserved that win. As you think we aren't indian haters. We don't hate any country. We love cricket as always. Indian team is good team in the world. It is true and they are proving with their gaming style. As sl fans we are very proud to say about asian cricket perfomance. Now you can see two of big three has gone away with nothing. We should be very proud abt that as asians. So don't call to sl fans as indian haters. We are sri lankans and we love country as yours. So we like to talk abt our nation provedly. You are always keep saying SL is cricket is so weak. If that so how can SL can be runners up in many world cup matches and asian cup holders. So don't talk abt our country and sl fans as a mad indian. we love cricket, we love sri lanka, we love asians. And we like india, we like pak, we like ban.

  • current on April 2, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    So next up, we have Badree + Naraine against Mahela + Sanga and Herath + Malinga against Gayle + Sammy.

    Two great spinning attacks and two middling batting lineups. Sri Lanka have the safer lineup on paper but they tend to go into their shell, while the West Indians either blow away or get blown away.

    Very interesting match coming up in SF. I would put my money on whoever bats first.

  • Dummy on April 1, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    Knew he was much better than mystery spinners of SL.Good luck to him .If SL even think of dropping him they would have dropped the WC just like last year .Now we can say that it can be an Ind SL final .May the best team win

  • Kepili on April 1, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    SL had to fight many battles apart from cricket to secure a place in SF, being the only subcontinental team in Chittagong group. Pace & bouncy conditions helped NZ, SA, Eng particularly in the evening, when dew helped the ball zip on & the spinners became virtually ineffective due to the wet ball . Therefore, SL did not have the luxury the other 3 subcontinent sides enjoyed playing in Mirpur! 1) SL had 3/4 of their outings scheduled in the late evening slot (battling to grip the ball & failing to defend 190 Vs Eng in that "Humid-Sauna" dome was a prime example). 2) Double standard inconsistent umpiring consistently battered SL. FREQUENCY of CUTTING SHORT SL BATTING & LETTING OFF FELLING OPPONENTS was clearly beyond the PROBABILITY of MARGINAL ERRORS! IGNORED wides & above waist/head NB etc. added to the tally. In any format, this is major battle to face apart from cricket. This is Why the DRS is so vital to any NON INFLUENTIAL team like SL & to the FUTURE EXISTENCE of GENUINE SPORT!

  • Rajinda on April 1, 2014, 19:43 GMT

    Reading most of the comments here from most subcontinent fans reminds me of one of my friends. with whom I HATE to watch any cricket. The reason: When we bat he thinks we should hit every ball for a 4 or 6. When we bowl, we should get a wicket with every ball. Which means the match would be over in 11 balls or if we bat first, we should score over 1000 runs. I realized he says these things, cause he'd never played the game, & it's the same logic I apply to most commentators here. Some of my fellow SL fans have some shot memories. The forget easily, what Sanga can do, when he fails a few matches. I agree Thisara has not clicked yet, BUT he is not someone you take out especially from a T20 format. Going forward I would keep the same team that beat NZ but remove Dilshan. Promote MJ to open (left/right combo), keep Thiri or Priyanjan & bring Seekuge as a bowler who can bat to fill Dily. So who is out? Unfortunately Chandi who is failing with bat, don't bowl & we have 3+ captains already!

  • Ashok on April 1, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    It was sad to see a powerful batting side of NZ were all at sea against the spin bowling of Herath & crumbled so effortlessly. Bowling figures of 5 wkts for 3 runs in 4 overs made him look like a "demon spinner" . It was just one Man show in batting by Williamson. This total of 60 runs is the lowest total in 2014 T20. I surprised me to see one NZ Fan rated Indian batting & bowling to be inept in overseas conditions when NZ redefined what "Inept" batting is! Indian bating never got out for 60, even if it was considered inept.

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