Showing signs of returning back to form, David Warner (65 off 42) smashed a quickfire fifty after a fine performance by bowlers as Australia registered a convincing 7-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a Super 12 match of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, here on Thursday.
This was Australia's second win in a row and they are now placed second in the Group 1 table with four points, only behind England who are ahead on net run rate.
Riding on some fighting knocks by Kusal Perera (35), Charith Asalanka (35) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (33), Sri Lanka posted 154/6 in 20 overs. Mitchell Starc (2/27), Pat Cummins (2/34) and Adam Zampa (2/12) were the wicket-takers for Australia.
Chasing a fighting target for victory, openers Aaron Finch and David Warner gave Australia a flying start, scoring 63 in the Powerplay, the highest in the tournament so far.
However, Wanindu Hasaranga brought Sri Lanka back into the game with twin strikes after the fielding restrictions were lifted, dismissing Finch and Glenn Maxwell in his two successive overs. Hasaranga cramped Finch (37) for room with the googly, who chopped a cut onto his own stumps. In his next over, Maxwell (5), who was promoted up the order to keep the momentum going, holed out in the deep to a good running catch on the boundary by Avishka Fernando.
Warner, who was under some pressure to find his form, ensured that the two quick wickets did not derail Australia's chase, finding boundaries regularly en route to his fifty. By the time Shanaka dismissed Warner in the 15th over, the asking rate was down to 5 runs per over.
Marcus Stoinis (16) and Steven Smith (28) batted sensibly and made sure that Australia don't lose any wickets further. Stoinis, in particular, smoked two fours and a six to finish things off in style as Australia secured a convincing win over Sri Lanka.
Earlier, batting first, Sri Lanka lost the wicket of Pathum Nissanka (7) in the third over of the innings. Nissanka tried to take the aerial route but failed to time the ball well and David Warner took a comfortable catch at the mid-off, leaving Sri Lanka to 15/1 after 2.3 overs.
Despite losing the first wicket early, Charith Asalanka took the attack to the Australia bowlers in the powerplay. On the other hand, Kusal Perera played second fiddle as Sri Lanka scored 53-1 after 6 overs.
Both Asalanka and Perera were going strong until Adam Zampa broke the stand in the 10th over. Asalanka (35), who was enjoying in the middle, got out to the googly of Zampa. In the next over, Starc dismissed Perera (35) on a perfect yorker.
Thereafter, Sri Lanka lost a few more wickets, Avishka Fernando (4), Wanindu Hasaranga (4), in quick succession and were in deep trouble at 94-5, with almost eight overs still left.
However, Rajapaksa played a smart cameo (33 off 26) and ensured that Sri Lanka finished with a respectable total of 154-6 in 20 overs.
Sri Lanka: 154/6 in 20 overs (Kusal Perera 35, Charith Asalanka 35; Adam Zampa 2/12) lost to Australia: 155/3 in 17 Overs (David Warner 65, Aaron Finch 37; Wanindu Hasaranga 2/22).