T20 World Cup: Australia cruise to victory over Sri Lanka to keep 100% record

Sri Lanka 154-6 (20 overs): Asalanka 35 (25), Perera 35 (27); Zampa 2-12
Australia 155-3 (17 overs): Warner 65 (42), Finch 37 (23); Hasaranga 2-22
Australia won by seven wickets

Australia maintained their 100% record at the Men’s T20 World Cup with a dominant seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

Chasing 155 for victory, opener David Warner hit a fluent 65 from 42 balls. When he fell in the 15th over Australia needed only 25.

Steve Smith, with an unbeaten 28, and Marcus Stoinis completed the job with three overs to spare.

Sri Lanka’s 154-6 had looked competitive on a slow pitch, but their bowlers struggled as openers Warner and Aaron Finch, who made 37, shared 70 to set Australia on their way.

Australia and England meet in Dubai on Saturday at 15:00 BST, when one team’s perfect record thus far must come to an end.

Warner finds his groove

Opener Warner was under pressure. He was dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, made one run in Australia’s two warm-up matches and only 14 in their opening win over South Africa on Saturday.

He was given a life on 18 when wicketkeeper Kusal Perera dropped a ridiculously easy catch, and Sri Lanka’s bowling was substandard, but this was Warner at his brutal, belligerent best.

His first boundary came from a reverse sweep and that set the tone for the rest of his innings. He picked the gaps and refused to let any bowler settle – in stark contrast to how Sri Lanka’s batters played leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

Although Charith Asalanka and Kusal Perera had propelled Sri Lanka to 78-1 in the 10th over, they failed to make the most of that platform as Zampa took 2-12 from four superb overs.

A rapid unbeaten 33 off 26 balls from Bhanuka Rajapaksa at least gave Sri Lanka’s bowlers something to defend.

However, they failed to build any pressure as wayward bowling allowed Warner and Finch to free their arms in a seven-over partnership which effectively settled the contest.

Chasing – the key to success in the UAE

Nine of the 10 games in the Super 12 phase have been won by the team chasing.

Only Afghanistan, who posted 190 before bowling Scotland out for 60, have been able to defend a total.

Much of the pre-tournament discussion was around the dew that settles in the evenings and makes the ball difficult to grip, giving an advantage to the team batting second.

In a format in which bat dominates ball and huge totals are becoming increasingly common, this World Cup appears to be offering something a little different – scores of 140-150 seem to be more competitive as spin plays a bigger role.

It only works if your bowlers back you up, and Sri Lanka did not quite get it right – just ask Dushmantha Chameera…

‘Australia are one to look out for’ – what they said

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka: “We got the start that we needed but in the middle phase we were not able to capitalise and we were 25 or 30 runs short.”

Australia captain Aaron Finch: “That was a really good performance. They got off to a flier and Adam Zampa in particular dragged it back in the middle for us and allowed Mitchell Starc to have an impact.

“It felt like they were going at 15 an over during the powerplay – the ball was flying a bit – but we felt like it was a good wicket. It was nice to chase that down.”

Former Australia batter Stuart Law on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: “You can’t ever count Australia out of a contest. I don’t think this shoots them above England and Pakistan, who are looking red hot, but they’re one to look out for now.”

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