Australia continued to build up some serious steam in their World Cup campaign, decimating Sri Lanka by 87 runs. The quality which the Aussies had both in their batting and bowling departments proved too hot for the Lankans to handle, as they succumbed to a heavy defeat. It was skipper Aaron Finch who led from the front, playing a memorable knock to put Australia in charge. His pace spearhead, Mitchell Starc, then delivered with the ball to deliver a knockout blow to the Lankans.
With the win, Australia move to the top of the table with 8 points in 5 matches. The Lankans, on the other hand, sit on the fifth spot with 4 points in 5 matches.
The skipper was at his dominating best, playing one of the best knocks of his career against a hapless Sri Lankan pace attack. Finch showed no mercy as he bullied the bowlers in a commanding knock of 153 off only 132 deliveries. He was given able support by a subdued David Warner at the top, who scored 26 off 48 balls. The opening stand though ensured that Australia assumed a commanding position and the stage was set for them to post a massive total on the board. After the loss of Warner and Khawaja in relatively quick succession, Steve Smith then chipped in with a quickfire 73 off 59 deliveries to continue the momentum.
Sri Lanka fight back
In the final few overs though, the Sri Lankans fought back, picking up a flurry of wickets while also containing the scoring rate. They ensured that the Australian middle and lower order did not fire much, with Glenn Maxwell being the exception. While it one seemed as though Australia would cruise home to a total of above the 375 run mark, the Sri Lankans showed great gusto to restrict them. It was Maxwell’s cameo of 46 off 25 deliveries at the end which helped Australia to post a score of 334/7 on the board.
Opening flurry gives Australia the jitters
In response to chasing down the massive target, the Lankan openers came out all guns blazing. While Kusal Perera played his natural aggressive game, skipper Karunaratne in particular, surprised one and all with the pace at which he scored with. Their opening stand of 115 gave Australia some massive headaches as not only did they look settled, but they were going at a rate of knots. Once Perera was dismissed for 52 off 36 deliveries, the Australian pacers could finally settle into a rhythm and apply the choke on the Lankans.
The Australian attack shows its class
Once they got the crucial breakthrough, the Australian bowlers did not give the Lankans a sniff. They applied the pressure by bowling the dot deliveries, which in turn brought up the required run-rate. The inexperience in the Lankan batting order then showed up, as they simply did not have a clue on how to pace their run chase. The runs dried up for Karunaratne, while the likes of Thirimanne and Kusal Mendis ate up a lot of deliveries. With the Lankans not having any other option than to up the ante, Mitchell Starc came into his own, running through the middle order. After delivering the crucial breakthrough of Perera, he then scalped up the wickets of Mendis, Siriwardana and Thisara Perera. The spell changed the game on its head and it was only a matter of time that the game came to its inevitable conclusion.