T20 World Cup: Marcus Stoinis leads Australia to victory over Sri Lanka

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Team 1, Perth
Sri Lanka 157-6 (20 overs): Nissanka 40 (45), Asalanka 38* (25)
Australia 158-3 (16.3 overs): Stoinis 59* (18)
Australia won by seven wickets
Scorecard. Tables

Marcus Stoinis scored the second-fastest half-century in the men’s T20 World Cup as Australia bounced back from an opening defeat with a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

Stoinis smashed 59 off 18 balls as Australia reached their target with 21 balls to spare in Perth.

Charith Asalanka had earlier hit 45 off 40 balls as Sri Lanka raced to 157-6.

The win eases the pressure on holders Australia, who entered the Super 12s bottom of Group One.

It moves them into fourth ahead of their crucial meeting with England in Melbourne on Friday (09:00 BST).

Sri Lanka face Afghanistan at the same venue on the same day (05:00).

Stoinis gives the Australian home power

Australia came into this match under pressure 89 run defeat against New Zealand it left them little room for error, even at this early stage of the tournament.

In addition to winning, they did very convincingly to improve their poor race level, a second defeat would make it extremely difficult to qualify for the finals.

The game was in the balance when Stoinis took the 13th over to take Australia to 97-3 and more than eight runs ahead of Sri Lanka’s score at the same stage.

But a wild display of power got the hosts over the line, with his knocks including four fours and six sixes in 22 minutes.

Skipper Aaron Finch had earlier won the toss and elected to continue for the sixth game in a row, despite not winning any of the previous five.

But after New Zealand were smashed for 200 on Saturday, Australia began with much more intent, removing the dangerous Kusal Mendis for five in the second over.

David Warner also took a superb diving catch at long-on to remove Dhananjaya de Silva as he looked to accelerate and leave Sri Lanka 75-2 in the 12th over.

Attempts to raise the scoring rate lead to sharp decisions, including a terrific mix-up between Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka, which saw Nissanka run for four.

Sri Lanka were struggling at 120-6 before a spirited effort at the back from Charith Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne, which included 31 off the last two overs.

Australia got off to a tentative start to the chase, unable to get a boundary in the powerplay as they limped in at 33-1 for the first time in their T20 international history.

But Sri Lanka’s spinners, often their strength, wilted in the middle. Wanindu Hasaranga endured particularly brutal treatment, finishing with figures of 0-53 from three overs.

Glenn Maxwell, who took 12 from 23, and Mitchell Marsh, who added 17 from 18, were the main beneficiaries, before Stoinis’ outstanding knock took Australia home.