England suffered a massive 10 wicket defeat to co-hosts Sri Lanka in today’s Cricket World Cup Quarter Final, with Sri Lankan openers Upul Tharanga and Tilakaratne Dilshan both scoring centuries to chase down England’s sub par total of 229.
With the toss thought to be crucial to the result, it was expected that the side batting first would have a huge advantage, as chasing under lights in Columbo is normally a tricky task. When England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to bat, England had a shot against the favourites for the game.
When Strauss and, make-shift opener, Ian Bell took to the crease, they made a slow and unsteady start to their innings. Strauss (5 from 19) was bowled by centurion Dilshan with the score at 29. Bell was removed by Angelo Matthews for 25 with only two more runs added to the score.
Johnathan Trott and Ravi Bopara provided a little security to the innings, adding 64, before Bopara was trapped in front of his stumps by veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for 31. Trott and the new batsman Eoin Morgan provided the back-bone to the innings with their 91 run partnership, with Morgan scoring a near run-a-ball 50.
Morgan was caught by Angelo Matthews off of the bowling of paceman Lasith Malinga to break the partnership. Swann then fell facing his first delivery from leg spinner Ajantha Mendis. With the score on 186, England looked to be struggling. Trott continued to plod his innings along, but when the score reached 212, Trott was dismissed by Murali.
Trott’s innings of 86 came from 115 and contained only two boundaries. 17 runs later, England’s innings ended with the score on 229 for 6 from their 50 overs.
Tharanga and Dilshan then took the game away from England quickly. The partners, who scored 282 against Zimbabwe in the groups, quickly added to the total and took the hosts closer to the semi-finals. The 231 run partnership consisted of Dilshan’s 108 from 115 balls, hitting 12 boundaries including 2 sixes. Tharanga’s 102 came from 122 balls and included 14 fours and a six.
Despite England’s poor performance, nothing should be taken away from the glorious innings played by the Sri Lankan opening pair. Being backed up by a potent bowling attack, Sri Lanka have the potential to go all the way in this competition. With a semi-final clash against New Zealand set up, the Sri Lankan side will be looking to reach the final against pre-tournament favourites India or their rivals Pakistan.
England’s tournament is over… But what a tournament it has been. There have been thrills and spills, with a twist never too far around the corner. This marks the end of a brilliant winter of cricket for England. But the tournament isn’t over and I am backing India to beat Pakistan, Sri Lanka to beat New Zealand and Sri Lanka to win in the final. But as this tournament has shown… anything can happen.
Who will win? Comment your thoughts below…