T20 World Cup: England reach semi-finals with win over Sri Lanka

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Team 1, Sydney Cricket Ground
Sri Lanka 141-8 (20 overs): Nissanka 67 (45); Wood 3-26
England 144-6 (19.4 overs): Hales 47 (30), Stokes 42* (36)
England won by four wickets
Scorecard. Tables

England survived a scare to reach the semi-finals of the Men’s T20 World Cup with a four-run victory over Sri Lanka in Sydney.

Chasing 142, England were cruising at 75-0 before collapsing at 5-36 in the eighth over.

They needed 13 from 12 balls with four wickets, but Ben Stokes’ calm unbeaten 42 took them to victory with two balls to spare at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It will set up a semi-final in Adelaide on Thursday, possibly against India if they beat Zimbabwe on Sunday.

England also recovered brilliantly with the ball to restrict Sri Lanka to 141-8 after 52-1 after five overs.

Adil Rashid expertly stopped the scoring and claimed the crucial wicket of opener Pathum Nissanka returning figures of 1-16 for 67 off 45 balls from four overs.

Mark Wood recovered 17 in his first over to take 3-26 from three, while Sam Curran was superb for 1-27.

England’s victory eliminated hosts and runners-up Australia and kept alive their ambitions of winning the T20 world title for a second time.

Stokes delivers when England need him

It should have been much easier for England given their roaring start, but the pressure of the situation, coupled with Sri Lanka’s clever spin and tiresome fielding, made for an unexpectedly tense final.

When Chris Woakes cut off seamer Lahiru Kumara for four to seal victory for a section of England fans, the relief was palpable.

Captain Jos Buttler added 28 in a thrilling opening stand with Hales, but the slide began when he picked leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga at deep mid-wicket.

Hales toe-ended a sweep to Hasaranga, Liam Livingstone holed it at long-on, Moeen Ali steered it straight to extra cover and Sam Curran hooked at fine leg.

England were also hampered by the loss of Dawid Malan – who did not bat due to an injury sustained in the field – but throughout Stokes was nervous.

Although his place in this side has been questioned since he was brought into the T20 squad after scoring double figures in six innings, he once again delivered when England needed him most.

He hit only two fours, but picked up the singles and doubles gaps expertly. When he left the field he did so singing Sweet Caroline with the England fans on this famous ground.

It means England have joined New Zealand in the last four and doing so with real momentum.

More to follow.

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