Barbados:White heroics help Australia crush Sri Lanka
Bridgetown (Barbados), May 10
Australia rode on Cameron White's blistering 49-ball 85 to trounce Sri Lanka by 81 runs in a Group F Super Eight match here and virtually assured themselves a place in the semifinals of the Twenty20 cricket World Cup. Battling all odds, White came up a with a stunner of an innings that lifted Australia to 168 for five from a precarious position after electing to bat.
White's crafty knock and his unbeaten 101-run partnership with Mike Hussey (39) saved the day for Australia after Sri Lanka had reduced them to 67 for five at one stage.
Spinner Suraj Randiv was the chief tormentor for Australia with a dream spell of three wickets for just 20 runs from his four overs.
Chasing 169 for victory, Sri Lanka lost wickets in a heap and were eventually dismissed for 87 as Australia won with more than three overs to spare at the Kensington Oval. Australia are unconquered so far and the comprehensive win in today's encounter, which boosted their net run-rate(+3.25), have more or less ensured their place in the semifinals.
Sri Lanka will now have to beat India on Tuesday and pray that Australia beat West Indies if they have to make the last- four stage .In-form Mahela Jayawardene has been instrumental in his side's smooth run so far in the tournament and his failure yesterday impacted Sri Lanka's performance.
The Australian pacers yet again produced a clinical performance with Mitchell Johnson (3/15) and Dirk Nannes(2/19) sharing five wickets among them. Jayawardene (9) fell immediately after hitting Nannes for a six and soon Sri Lanka was down three for 26.
Tillakaratane Dilshan (20) and Angelo Mathews (8) tried to put up some fight, hitting Shane Watson for 15 runs in the sixth over but Johnson removed both in his next over. Dinesh Chandimal (19) was the other batsman to manage a double-digit score and his dismissal, a stumping off Steven Smith (2/13), ended all Lankan hopes.
Earlier, Randiv rocked the Australia middle-order before White scored a sensational half-century to rescue his side. White made Sri Lanka pay heavily for dropping him, when he was on 23 in 11th over, and raised the match winning partnership with Mike Hussey.
Sri Lanka were all over Australia after Randiv's super spell but White killed the Lankan joy with his bludgeoning Innings , adorned with six fours and as many sixes. His fiery knock helped Australia muster 69 runs in the last five overs.
Kumar Sangakkara made some intelligent moves and his bowlers -- both pacers and spinners -- responded well as they were spot on with their line and length. Mathews did not have fearsome pace but was rewarded for his persistence off-stump line as he removed dangerous Watson
(1) and Brad Haddin (15) in successive overs to give his side a fabulous start.
Randiv, drafted into the playing XI in place of injured Muttiah Muralitharan, made sure that his team does not feel the absence of the star off-spinner as he bowled a sensational first over, scalping David Warner (9) and David Hussey (0) off successive balls.
While Warner was out in the slip region, Hussey was stumped by Sangakkara after being foxed by the spinner. Michael Clarke became the third victim of Randiv just two balls after Mendis dropped White.