WC: New Zealand's bowlers set up a 5-wicket win over Sri Lanka

WC: New Zealand's bowlers set up a 5-wicket win over Sri Lanka
New Zealand had a minor scare but went on to secure a convincing five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 160 balls remaining, cementing their position in the semifinals of the ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. In order to boost their Net Run Rate, New Zealand needed to win their last league match by a significant margin. They managed to bundle out Sri Lanka for 171 runs and were well on their way to victory at 86 for no loss in 12 overs, thanks to the impressive efforts of Devon Conway (45) and Rachin Ravindra (42).
Both the openers were out quickly, and skipper Kane Williamson departed for 14 before Daryl Mitchell blasted a 31-ball 43 to put them back on track for a five-wicket victory. It was an incredible bowling performance followed by an 86-run opening stand that built the base for New Zealand's important victory over Sri Lanka at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The victory has left Pakistan and Afghanistan, both of whom are on eight points, needing virtually impossible targets to achieve in their respective last-league matches to overcome New Zealand's superior NRR.
Sri Lanka struggled in the Powerplay as Kusal Perera fought a lone battle while his teammates fell in quick succession. Lockie Ferguson dismissed Perera, and Mitchell Santner took out Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva in successive overs, putting New Zealand in a commanding position. Sri Lanka scored 171, but New Zealand's strong start with the bat made it clear that they were likely to win.
New Zealand had a strong start in the chase of 172 runs. Conway attacked Madushanka, hitting seven boundaries, while Ravindra tackled the spinners with authority. The team scored 73 runs in the first 10 overs. Dushmantha Chameera and Maheesh Theekshana of Sri Lanka found a way into the New Zealand middle order, but Dary Mitchell's intent was clear as he smashed a six and a four. Mathews gave Sri Lanka hope by cleaning up Williamson, but with less than fifty runs needed for New Zealand to win, the fightback seemed too late.
New Zealand lost Chapman due to a miscommunication with Mitchell and then lost their top five players when Mathews dismissed Mitchell. Despite this setback, they only needed ten more runs to secure their place in the semi-finals. Phillips hit back-to-back boundaries to seal the deal. Earlier, Southee dismissed Nissanka early, and Perera attacked the New Zealand attack, scoring runs with ease. Sri Lanka scored 30 runs in the first four overs.
Perera hammered the attack, hitting Southee for 4 boundaries and Boult for 2. The fifty came up in a mere 22 balls, the fastest by any player vs New Zealand in the men's Cricket World Cup. Boult dismissed Asalanka, and Santner's double strike put an end to Sri Lanka's innings. Sri Lanka's Theekshana and Madushanka's resistant tenth-wicket partnership added 43 valuable runs, but New Zealand secured victory, setting themselves up for a place in the semifinals.
Source: IANS