Rediff.com  » Cricket » PIX: England have one foot in semis after Buttler's ton

PIX: England have one foot in semis after Buttler's ton

Last updated on: November 02, 2021 00:02 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Images from the T20 World Cup Super 12s match between England and Sri Lanka, in Sharjah, on Monday.

England's Jos Buttler celebrates after completing a magnificent hundred off the last delivery of the innings during the T20 World Cup Super 12s match against Sri Lanka, at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, on Monday.

IMAGE: England's Jos Buttler celebrates after completing a magnificent hundred off the last delivery of the innings during the T20 World Cup Super 12s match against Sri Lanka, at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, on Monday. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Jos Buttler scored a magnificent century as England beat Sri Lanka by 26 runs in the T20 World Cup Super12s match to put one foot in the semi-finals, in Sharjah, on Monday.

The opener got to his hundred with a six off the final ball of England's innings, finishing with a brilliant 101 not out, his highest individual score in T20 international cricket.

 

The wicketkeeper then played a crucial role in the field as Sri Lanka threatened to push England close in their chase of 164, pulling off two excellent run-outs, the second with an inspired direct hit.

Sri Lanka’s fight ended tamely when Moeen Ali (2-15) picked two wickets in the penultimate over to wrap up the innings with six balls remaining.

Wandindu Hasaranga top-scored for the Lankans with a quick-fire 34.

Sri Lanka opener Pathum Nissanka is run-out as England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dislodges the bails.

IMAGE: Sri Lanka opener Pathum Nissanka is run-out as England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dislodges the bails. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

The result makes it four wins from four for England, essentially confirming the world’s top-ranked T20I side as winners of Group 1, barring an unlikely set of results and a huge shift in net run rate.

Sri Lanka are not mathematically out of the tournament, but must beat West Indies heavily to improve their net run rate and hope that South Africa and Australia both fail to pick up any more points. 

Sri Lanka made a real game of the chase in the middle overs. Bhanuka Rajapaksa got the run rate flowing with 26 off 18 balls, before a dangerous partnership took the game deep.

Moeen Ali takes the catch to dismiss Charith Asalanka.

IMAGE: Moeen Ali takes the catch to dismiss Charith Asalanka. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Captain Dasun Shanaka and the exceptional Hasaranga put together a partnership of 53 to make England sweat.

England’s afternoon got even more complicated when death-bowling specialist Tymal Mills pulled up with an injury midway through his second over and was forced to depart the field, leaving Morgan short of bowling options.

But two stunning bits of fielding delivered for England just when the game looked to be slipping away.

A brilliant catch by Jason Roy, flicking the ball back to substitute fielder Sam Billings, removed Hasaranga for 34 off 21.

Eoin Morgan takes the catch to dismiss Kusal Perera.

IMAGE: Eoin Morgan takes the catch to dismiss Kusal Perera. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Then an inspired direct hit from Buttler as Sri Lanka attempted a quick single did for Shanaka, effectively ending the hopes of the chase.

Ali finished the job with the ball, taking on the penultimate over and picking up the final two wickets to leave Sri Lanka all-out for 137.

Earlier, wickets fell at regular intervals through the first half of Sri Lanka’s reply, leaving them struggling on 66 for 4 at the halfway stage of the innings, still requiring 98 off 60.

Chris Jordan, left, and Eoin Morgan celebrate the wicket of Avishka Fernando.

IMAGE: Chris Jordan, left, and Eoin Morgan celebrate the wicket of Avishka Fernando. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Buttler was back in the thick of the action straight away in the field. He combined with Morgan to run-out Pathum Nissanka off the third ball of the innings.

England bowled four overs of spin in the Powerplay for the first time in T20I cricket, with Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone all called into action.

The strategy that paid dividends, as Rashid first dismissed Charith Asalnka and then Kusal Perera to leave Sri Lanka reeling at 34 for 3.

And when Chris Jordan struck, trapping Avishka Fernando leg before for 13, Sri Lanka’s hopes of reaching the 164-run target were virtually over at the half-way stage, at 66 for 4.

Jos Buttler hit 12 boundaries and 6 sixes during his 101 not out.

IMAGE: Jos Buttler hit 12 boundaries and 6 sixes during his 101 not out off 67 balls. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Earlier, Buttler scored a scintillating hundred to rally England after the loss of three early wickets.

It was only fitting that he got to the milestone with a six off the final delivery of the innings.

The unbeaten 101 off 67 balls is the 31-year-old batter's highest individual score in T20 international cricket and the first century in the ongoing edition of the World Cup.

Buttler becomes the first England men's international to score a century in all three formats - T20I, ODI and Test cricket.

England opener Jason Roy is bowled by Sri Lanka spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.

IMAGE: England opener Jason Roy is bowled by Sri Lanka spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

He and skipper Eoin Morgan (40 off 36) shared a a crucial 112 runs partnership for the fourth wicket off 78 balls as England fought back from a precarious position.

Wandindu Hasaranga was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers, with three wickets for 21 runs off his four overs.

In the process he became the fifth-fastest bowler to bag 50 T20I wickets.

England opener Dawid Malan is bowled by Sri Lanka pacer Dushmantha Chameera.

IMAGE: England opener Dawid Malan is bowled by Sri Lanka pacer Dushmantha Chameera. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

In search of a fourth straight victory in the Super 12 stage, after easily beating the West Indies, Bangladesh and Australia, England were under pressure for the first time in the tournament after being put in to bat.

They lost three wickets in the Powerplay and were reduced to 47 for 3 after 10 overs before Buttler and captain Morgan set about rebuilding the innings.

Jason Roy went on the offensive from the start as England got 12 runs from the opening over. But Wanindu Hasaranga dismissed him, skidding a googly under his attempted sweep. Roy was out for 9 off 6 deliveries and England were 13 for 1 after two deliveries in the second over.

Sri Lanka pacer Dushmantha Chameera is congratulated by teammates after dismissing England opener Dawid Malan.

IMAGE: Sri Lanka pacer Dushmantha Chameera is congratulated by teammates after dismissing England opener Dawid Malan. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Dawid Malan, in at three, had a close call on six, when an inside-edge off Dushmantha Chameera fell fractionally short of the ‘keeper. But the top-ranked batter in T20I cricket was out to the next delivery, playing all around a peach of an in-swinger, leaving England reduced to 33 for 2 at the end of the fifth over.

The decision to bring back Hasaranga for a second over in the Powerplay reaped rewards as Jonny Bairstow came down the track to his first delivery and was struck on the pads.

Wanindu Hasaranga is ecstatic after trapping Jonny Bairstow leg before wicket.

IMAGE: Wanindu Hasaranga is ecstatic after trapping Jonny Bairstow leg before wicket. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Sri Lanka reviewed the decision and Bairstow was back, leaving England in trouble for the first time in the tournament.

Morgan struggled to get going through the middle overs but stuck with Buttler as the pair rebuilt towards the death, before England's captain was dismissed by Hasaranga for 40 off 36 balls.

But it was all about Buttler in the back-end of the innings as England’s in-form opener blazed away, finishing with 12 boundaries and six maximums in his outstanding 101 not out.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

IPL 2022

IPL 2022