While the World Twenty20 Super 10 groups may be coming to an end, the heart-stopping cricket drama certainly isn’t.
Monday saw Group 1 come to a close, with Sri Lanka taking the last-remaining semifinal spot at the expense of New Zealand and the Netherlands shocking the world with a victory over 2010 champions England.
|Sri Lanka (Q)||4||3||1||6|
|South Africa (Q)||4||3||1||6|
In the first match of the day, the Dutch took a major scalp in the form of England with a 45-run victory against Ashley Giles’ side. Understandably, the official Netherlands Cricket Twitter account was ecstatic about it:
England, who played the tournament in orange, won just one match in a dismal campaign in Bangladesh, topped off by their defeat to the Dutch minnows.
Captain Stuart Broad spoke to BBC Sport after the match and said that the defeat was down to "a lack of commitment and hunger in our shots."
He went on to say:
"We didn't deliver and it's hugely disappointing. No-one got going and no-one took responsibility. We said all the right things before the game, but we didn't deliver. There are no excuses. It was a relatively simple chase, but a shocking chase."
England had a target of just 134 runs after the Netherlands took to the crease first, with Stephan Myburgh (39) and Wesley Barresi (48) the high scorers, but they never came close.
Seven of England’s order posted single-figure returns—per International Cricket Council—as they could only muster 88 to give the Netherlands a famous victory.
According to ESPN Cricinfo, it was the second worst total ever posted by England in a T20I and just the third time that they have failed to break the 100 barrier.
By contrast, it was the Netherlands’ largest run-margin victory in their T20I history, as OptaJim revealed via Twitter:
Despite the match being a dead rubber, with both England and the Netherlands already eliminated from the competition, it remains one of the most morale-destroying defeats in England’s history.
Monday’s second game was anything but a dead rubber, though, with Sri Lanka and New Zealand battling it out for the final semi-final place together with South Africa from Group 1.
What was predicted to be a one-way match was exactly that, as Sri Lanka recorded a 59-run victory despite only posting 119 with the bat.
Trent Boult’s 3-for-20 figures inspired the Kiwis to bowl the Sri Lankans all out for 119, leaving them with a simple-looking chase of 120, as BBC Sport revealed via Twitter:
However, New Zealand came up extremely short and were bowled out for just 60—their worst-ever total in a T20I according to ESPN Cricinfo.
Rangana Herath stole the show with the ball, posting astonishing figures of 5-for-3 with 18 dots to boot. As Cricket Record revealed via Twitter, Herath’s economy rate of 0.85 has never been matched in T20Is:
Rangana Herath 3.3-2-3-5 - his economy rate 0.85 is the best ever by anyone in a T20I match with at-least 2 wickets. #wt20— Cricket Record (@cricinfo_record) March 31, 2014
So, it’s Sri Lanka that qualify for the semi-finals for the fourth year in succession, while New Zealand were left to lament what could have been, with captain Brendan McCullum saying to BBC Sport:
“Credit to Sri Lanka—they blew us away.”
|Stage||Date||Team 1||Team 2|
|Super 10 Group 2||April 1st||Bangladesh||Australia|
|Super 10 Group 2||April 1st||West Indies||Pakistan|
|World T20 Semi-Final||April 3rd||Sri Lanka||TBD|
|World T20 Semi-Final||April 4th||India||South Africa|
|World T20 Final||April 6th||TBD||TBD|
On Tuesday, Group 2’s final matches take place, with one semi-final position still to be decided.
West Indies will take on Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Mirpur, for the right to face the Sri Lankans in the semi-final.
It’s the kind of winner-takes-all clash that brings the best out the exciting Twenty20 format, with Pakistan Cricket’s Twitter feed showing just how big a match it will be:
With the invincible Indians looking like hot favourites to make the final if they maintain their level of brilliance, whoever gets through—whether it be the West Indies, Pakistan or Sri Lanka—will have to produce something special to get their name on the trophy.
However, history remains on Sri Lanka’s side heading into the World T20 climax. In the last two World T20s, the host of the preceding tournament has gone on to win the title, per Information Cricket.
The Sri Lankans will have to produce a much better performance with the bat if they’re to keep such a record going, but with Herath on song with the ball, they’ll have the power to upset any batting order.