Perth [Australia], October 26 (ANI): Despite a seven-wicket defeat to Australia, Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood remains optimistic that his team can make a semi-final push, even as their cursed injury run continued with quick Binura Fernando suffering a hamstring injury.
A quickfire half-century by all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and his 69-run partnership with skipper Aaron Finch helped defending champions Australia to register a crucial seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their Group 1, Super 12 match of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup at Perth on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka succumbed to a fierce assault from Marcus Stoinis, who hit Australia’s fastest T20I half-century to finish with a match-winning 59 off 18 balls.
“We knew Australia had to come hard at us because of their net run rate. The way he [Stoinis] came back at us and struck the ball was exceptional,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Silverwood as saying.
It leaves both teams with one win in Group 1, with Sri Lanka facing New Zealand at the SCG on Saturday in a must-win game.
“I truly believe that we can not only challenge this group, but come out victorious. I think we’ve shown we have the capabilities and the skills within the group,” Silverwood said.
“We showed that in the Asia Cup and the confidence is growing within the group. The important thing from today is to regroup and get ready for the next game,” he added.
“I can’t fault the way the guys at the top of the order played. The ball did move around early on. Life was difficult for us. We’re not used to that sort of bounce that we get here in Perth. The way they went about their business to set that platform…they did very well,” said the Sri Lanka head coach.
Sri Lanka’s wretched injury run continues with Danushka Gunathilaka, Dushmantha Chameera and Dilshan Madushanka already casualties.
“We’ll obviously assess him [Fernando] and the physios are working with him. We’ll find out exactly the extent of the injury and we’ll have to make some decisions from there. It’s been hectic at times…it’s something you’ve just got to get used to. You’ve got to try and plan the best you can with training and give people time to rest,” Silverwood said.
Coming to the match, put to bat by Australia, Sri Lanka posted 157/6 in their 20 overs. Opener Pathum Nissanka (40) top-scored for his side and had a 69-run stand with Dhananjaya de Silva (26). Though Australia made a comeback after this solid second wicket stand to take some quick wickets, Charith Asalanka (38*) made sure Lankans finished decently.
Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, Agar and Maxwell got a wicket each. Chasing 158, Australia was off to a slow start, scoring 33/1 in their powerplay. Australia finished the powerplay without scoring even a single four or six, for the first time in their T20I history.
However, quickfire knocks from Stoinis (59* off 18) and Glenn Maxwell (23 off 12 balls) changed the game for the Aussies. Skipper Aaron Finch (31* off 42 balls) had a 69-run stand for the fourth wicket to help his side clinch a crucial seven-wicket win over Asian champions.
With this win, Australia is in the fourth position on the points table with 2 points, one place below Asian champions Sri Lanka, who are in third with two points.
Stoinis earned the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his match-winning half-century. (ANI)
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