THE English lions were strangled into a shock 20-run defeat by the Sri Lankan Elephants that dented the hopes of the hosts reaching the 2019 Cricket World Cup semi-finals and breathed life into the tournament.
Chasing 233 on an increasingly difficult pitch, the hosts were smothered by a brilliant Sri Lanka bowling performance in a compelling contest. The victory means Sri Lanka attained the fifth position on the points table, with 6 points from 6 matches. England, who have now lost two of their matches, remain at third place with 8 points from 6 matches.
With this win, Sri Lanka have climbed to fifth position on the World Cup points table, with 6 points from 6 matches. England, who have now lost two of their matches, remain at third place with 8 points from 6 matches, but have difficult fixtures coming up against Australia, India and New Zealand.
Sri Lanka got off to a horrible start losing both openers for just three runs. Adil Rashid’s double blow pushed Sri Lanka on the back foot but Angelo Mathews played an unbeaten knock of 85 to guide Sri Lanka to a score of 232/9 in 50 overs.
Avishka Fernando made an impressive debut as he took on Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes in the power play overs. Fernando missed out on his half-century.
Lasith Malinga was the star of the second innings, running through the England batting order. He accounted for the entire England top order and then came back to also trap Jos Buttler to leave the hosts reeling.
Ben Stokes played a responsible innings in the chase but began to run out of partners towards the close of play. He looked to take England over the line single-handedly, and with the last few overs left, it looked as if he could break Sri Lankan hearts. However, No.11 Mark Wood was dismissed off the last ball of the 47th over.