A special century from Glenn Phillips (104) helped New Zealand recover from a poor start as Trent Boult (four wickets) made a crucial 65-run win over Sri Lanka in a T20 World Cup match here on Saturday. New Zealand lost three wickets for 15 runs in the powerplay, after which Phillips (64 balls, 10 fours, four sixes) took the innings with Daryl Mitchell (22 off 24 balls) sharing an 84-run partnership. With this, the team scored 167 runs for seven wickets in the stipulated 20 overs.
Fate favored Phillips, he was given life support twice. This 25-year-old player took full advantage of the life gift he got on the score of 12 runs and hit the best strokes and scored his second T20 century. Chasing this target, Sri Lanka also lost early wickets like New Zealand, but they could not recover from these setbacks and their entire team was reduced to 102 runs in 19.2 overs. For New Zealand, Boult did the most damage to Sri Lanka with the new ball and also produced the best performance of his career.
He took four wickets for 13 runs in four overs. This is New Zealand’s second win in three matches while their previous match against Afghanistan was washed out due to rain. Now the journey to the semi-finals has become very difficult for Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka, who suffered a second defeat in three matches. Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 24 runs in the seventh over, losing the match at that time. The experienced pair of fast bowler Boult and Tim Southee shook the Sri Lankan top order.
Boult took three wickets in his opening spell. Left-arm spinners Mitchell Santner (2/21) and Ish Sodhi (2/21) also took two wickets each. Barring Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 34 off 22 balls, none of Sri Lanka’s batsmen could stand up to New Zealand’s strong bowling attack. Captain Dasun Shanaka (35 off 32 balls), who took the team out of difficult situations several times, could not do so on Saturday. It was New Zealand’s first match since their win over Australia a week earlier.
But the team showed the best performance. Earlier, apart from Phillips, only two other batsmen could reach the double-digit score for the team. Apart from Mitchell, Mitchell Santner remained unbeaten on 11 runs. During his memorable innings, Phillips fired shots against spinners and fast bowlers. He hit the first six on Chamika Karunaratne. This boosted his confidence to play big shots and after a poor start, the team’s run-rate also started increasing.
Phillips celebrated his century with a roar, hitting a boundary off the mysterious spinner Mahish Teekshana. Teekshana impressed with the new ball, bowling too many short lengths in the ‘death overs’ and Phillips took full advantage of it. The New Zealand player hit two consecutive sixes in the 18th over, adding 16 runs. New Zealand added 67 runs in the last two overs. The Sri Lankan players looked weak in catching and fielding.
The only positive for the Sri Lankan team was the bowling of the first six overs in which they took the wickets of the dangerous Finn Allen, Devon Conway and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Teekshana dismisses Finn with her inswinger. Williamson was caught by Kasun Rajita’s outgoing ball. Rajita took two wickets. Dhananjaya de Silva, Lahiru Kumara and Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva took a wicket each for Sri Lanka apart from Teeksha.