England v Sri Lanka, 1st semi-final, St Lucia May 13, 2010

England stroll to resounding win


England 132 for 3 (Pietersen 42*) beat Sri Lanka 128 for 6 (Mathews 58, Broad 2-21) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Kevin Pietersen marked the birth of his first son by steering England into the final of the ICC World Twenty20, as he continued his imposing run of form with an unbeaten 42 from 26 balls in a comprehensive seven-wicket victory. Back in the side after his paternity dash back to England, Pietersen built on the hard-hitting efforts of Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb, who added 68 for the first wicket in eight overs, as Sri Lanka's sub-par total of 128 for 6 was hunted down with four overs to spare.

It was yet another supremely composed performance from England, who have shed the diffidence they have habitually shown in this format, and powered their way past the beaten finalists in the 2009 tournament in unquestionably their most domineering performance of the competition to date.

After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first, England's seamers and spinners throttled a dangerous Sri Lankan line-up in a wholehearted display, then cruised to their target without blinking. Though Sri Lanka recovered from 47 for 4 after nine overs thanks to the calm accumulation of Angelo Mathews, who made 58 from 45 balls, their final total was at least 20 runs short of a competitive total.

With rain in the air, and a tacky surface underfoot, Sri Lanka's decision to bat first proved, in hindsight, to have been a mistake. The conditions offered movement for the seamers and purchase for the spinners, and though Mahela Jayawardene began with intent by clipping a first-ball loosener from Tim Bresnan for four, that was arguably the last moment that Sri Lanka were in command of the contest.

England's openers were made to battle for their runs at first, as Sri Lanka opened with the spin of Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis, and restricted the scoring to six runs in two overs. But when Suraj Randiv joined the attack, Kieswetter launched into two inside-out slogs over the covers from consecutive balls, and suddenly the innings was up and running.

Both men required a touch of luck to last as long as they did, but such was England's collective belief, it's hard to think that the result could have been any different. Kieswetter edged Angelo Mathews streakily for four only moments before surviving a stone-dead appeal for lbw, before responding with a dismissive blat for six over long-off in the same eventful over. Lumb, meanwhile, should have been run out by 15 yards when his partner refused a quick single to backward point, but with the stumps at his mercy, Mendis tried to gather the shy with hard hands, and the chance ricocheted harmlessly back down the pitch.

Kieswetter made Mendis pay for his clumsiness by flogging consecutive fours to round off the Powerplay overs, and as the requirement dipped below a run a ball, the two openers exchanged sixes in Sanath Jayasuriya's first and only over of the innings. It was Lasith Malinga, one delivery later, who finally made the breakthrough with a fast and flat yorker, but at 68 for 1 after 8.1 overs, the contest was drifting out of Sri Lanka's reach.

When Lumb was dropped by a diving Nuwan Kulasekera at mid-off in the same over, Sri Lanka's heads dropped too. One ball later, Lumb should once again have been run out by the length of the pitch, but the throw from mid-off was wildly off the target, and though he stepped across his stumps to be bowled by Thissara Perera in the following over, it wasn't before he'd snaffled two further fours to finish up with 33 from 26 balls.

By this stage, the numerous England fans in the stands had accepted that the result was looking after itself, and were setting about the important business of partying. There was just time for Paul Collingwood to continue his troubling run of low scores by skying a leading edge off Perera to Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps for 10, but with 16 runs still needed, Eoin Morgan barely got a look-in as Pietersen sealed the deal with a flicked six and a driven four in consecutive deliveries off Malinga.

Whereas England's batsmen punished all marginal errors, Sri Lanka's own line-up were never allowed to settle. Ryan Sidebottom was the first to strike, with the first ball of his new-ball spell, as Jayasuriya edged a Test-match quality outswinger to Paul Collingwood at second slip. Tillakaratne Dilshan responded with a wild yahoo to get off the mark with a boundary first-ball, but England responded by pulling their lengths back half a yard, and the results of their aggression were plain to see.

Bresnan was the next to strike, as Dilshan's frenetic innings came to an end courtesy of a mad mow off the front foot to deep square leg, where Luke Wright made superb ground to cling onto a low diving catch. At 20 for 2 in the fourth over, Kumar Sangakkara stroked his first delivery, from Sidebottom, through point for four, but at the other end, the introduction of Stuart Broad accounted for the massive wicket of Jayawardene, only moments after he had reached his 300th run of the tournament.

Broad's first ball to Jayawardene was the perfect delivery for the conditions - a cross-seam lifter outside off that grazed the edge of an uncertain prod and fizzed through to Craig Kieswetter behind the stumps. At the end of the Powerplays, Sri Lanka were wobbling on 38 for 3, whereupon the spinners, Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy, compounded their problems with a miserly first foray.

Only nine runs had been grifted from three overs by the time Sangakkara lost patience with Swann's loopy guile, and holed out to Pietersen at mid-off as he attempted to belt a dipping delivery over the infield. Angelo Mathews cut a wide ball from Yardy past point for four before lofting Swann down the ground for the first six of the innings, but the reintroduction of the pacemen stymied the run-flow once again.

England's use of the slow bouncer proved especially effective. None of Sri Lanka's batsmen was able to gauge the pace of the deliveries as they bunny-hopped past their noses - and one such ball, from Sidebottom, led Chamara Kapugedera to fling his bat past square leg as he completely mistimed a pull. Broad eventually nailed for 16 from 27 balls as he swatted a rare full one to Bresnan at mid-off.

Only Mathews was able to compile a long-term response as Sri Lanka groped their way past 100 in the 18th over of the innings. By the end of that same over he had brought up his half-century from 41 balls, as Bresnan's radar went unusually awry with 17 runs coming from nine deliveries, including three leg-side wides. But England recovered their poise through Broad and Sidebottom, and Mathews was run out with one delivery of the innings remaining.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sachira on May 15, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    I think Sanath factor is playing a big part in the teams currint performance. May be its hindering the unity of SL team little by little. Moreover, a strong public opinion is building up against Jayasooriya's over stay in the team, preventing young talents entering the team and providing them with much needed experience before the 2011 World Cup. Check this facebook page called 'Sanath Please Resign, Before You Get Kicked Out'; http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=10220021315925 What a sad situation for SL cricket!

  • Arosha on May 15, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    The ultimate story is SL haven't got batsmen with quality & ability to win games on a consistent basis. The departure of De Silva left a huge hole in the middle, can a player like S'kara take on the opponents with the same kind of skill & authority ? De Silva is a player who'd a 80+ SR with a decent average in a generation where most of the middle order players, except only a handful, had a 60+/70+ SRs. Most importantly he managed to play as the situation demands; rock solid in defense & very good in counter attacking stroke play passing the pressure to the opponents. J'ya provided high octane at the top; on his day he could win games single handedly; just see his record in tournament finals, no need to list them here. He may not have any world cup wins like De Silva, but plenty of others. Then how many of these other superiors who had won even a Asia Cup final on their own ? Mahela played 300+ ODIs, S'kara nearing that mark. Even K'gedara is nearing 100 ODIs. How many they've won ???.

  • Arosha on May 15, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    Funny reading most of these comments here.I'm not biased to anyone but can see why SL is struggling.J'ya may have done some huge mistake by entering politics while still playing the game, 100% true.Partly it's the fault of selfish politicians here who couldn't wait until he retires from his game to exploit his popularity for their political agendas.J'ya being a greater player should have learnt from Marven to quite without being a muppet of anyone.Still I find it quite funny seeing people blaming J'ya as the ULTIMATE CAUSE for these embarrassing defeats.Rubbish to say the least, at least he's the man along with De Silva who's mostly responsible of making the a then dejected side to a competitive side on the world stage.He may have failed here, but @least in past, won quite a dozen of games on his own. Mahela, though he did a great service here, is nowhere near catching that mark yet. Dilshan is thriving, still need to prove it long term. Who're the rest & what's they've done in ODIs ?

  • Tharindu on May 14, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    Some people showing their lack of cricketing knowledge by saying that Sanga's "poor captaincy" was the reason for our defeat in last match. They showing examples from IPL also. Then what about Dhoni's captaincy ? He was the winning captain of last IPL & this time he lost...Last match was lost mainly because of our batsmen's failure. Simply, that total was not enough on that pitch. Don't make stupid judgements based on your narrow knowledge. Can't you notice the fact that Sanga is giving so many chances to youngsters in every series. Is n't that what we want for our cricket to go forward ?

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    Only Mathews was able to compile a long-term response as Sri Lanka groped their way past 100 in the 18th over of the innings. By the end of that same over he had brought up his half-century from 41 balls,this young lad has been the find of the century for S.L,the way he handled pressure when all top batsmen came and went,but hats off for England for a grand display.

  • Pathum on May 14, 2010, 15:30 GMT

    Dear Sanath, pls think twise before u take the bat next time. this is the best time to quite. thanks for the every thing u did 4 the Sl cricket and ur retirement will be the best thing ever u can do for SL cricket and fans. pls think about this.

  • Roshen on May 14, 2010, 13:44 GMT


  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    Well well well, it wasn't our day. Our batting was over reliant on Mahela. Dilshan and Sanga were struggling. And we were a strike bowler too short, we should have brought Dilhara after his succes in the IPL. Chandimal should have opened with Mahela. C'mon Sana you have to go..Give a young man a chance and leave on your terms without making a nuisance of yourself. People are questioning Sanga's captaincy. But I think that's a bit harsh. He needs the right team. He wasn't given best team on the park, and we paid dearly. Lets learn from our mistakes and bring in the young guns or else face the music at the 50 over WC. Surely Sana has to go b4 that

  • Thabo on May 14, 2010, 12:37 GMT

    These South African players in the England team are a good thing for them on a career view point. They are obviously having a great much needed impact on English cricket, however this goes to show that as much as SA has problems with quota systems etc, England is becoming a way out for SAFFAS such as KP, Trott and Kesweiter because they know it works in the reverse in the UK. Talented White Brits have preference in cricket in the UK over the ethnic population. Is SA wrong?? No they are not as things will improve as they are in England..However it shows these SAFFAS in the England team, that they are not open to change and do not wish for a unified nation!!

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    What now for SL, 1- No more Sanath. 2- Sanga to hand over the captaincy to Mahela, 3- Bring in in form players to future tournaments, i.e Jeewantha Kulathunga, Dilhara F, Vass, 4- Give more opportunities for young talent- Matthews, Tissera 5- Find selectors with backbone 6- Groom players to replace- Mahela, Dilshan, Murali, Sanga in the long run.

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