Saturday, January 22

Jos Buttler’s Sensational Century Establishes England’s Victory Over Sri Lanka | World Cup T20 2021

So that answers that, then. In a tournament where everything had gone England’s way, this time it was all against them: they were asked to hit first after losing the draw, they struggled to figure out how to pace their innings, play bowling as the dew soaked the grounds on a heavy and humid night, watching Tymal Mills limp in the middle of his second pass to smash his death bowling plans as Sri Lanka sped toward his goal.

But they refused to throw in the towel, after all, they needed it to soak up the ball’s spray, and thanks to the genius of Jos Buttler, an often unpleasant evening turned into one to savor. Sri Lanka was beaten by 26 runs and with a 100% record after four games, a spot in the semi-finals is almost assured.

Buttler led the team, his colleagues walking 10 steps behind and applauding him the entire way. Forty-eight hours after his 71 of 32 balls propelled England to victory over Australia in Dubai, his diamond demonstrated several other facets of his brilliance with a 67-ball century, transforming an inning that for a time, like many, have done in this tournament. , was lost in depression.

But with the wind in his sails, there are few hitters to match Buttler and he accelerated to his first 20th century international, becoming the second English player, after Heather Knight, to hit hundreds in all three formats, lifting the final ball from the tickets. on square leg for six. Over the course of 20 overs, he was England’s starter, anchor and finisher.

How they needed it. The thing about invincibility auras is that, as beautiful as they are when they land on you, they are not very resistant. Just a couple of scratches and it comes.

It had taken England three wonderfully dominant victories to build the one they wore coming into this match, but in 20 minutes they looked clearly uneven.

What has set this England team apart, which has gone from white ball ignominy to supremacy in the last six years, is an unwavering consistency of intent. They work hard and, regardless of the circumstances, they keep going. Without truce, without truce. Here, however, for a prolonged period they were eerily flabby. On unfamiliar terrain, on a wicket that was flat like a skating rink and similarly slippery at times, they were unable to find their balance for a long time.

It didn’t help their cause that Sri Lanka, who had played Sharjah three times at this World Cup, have a jewel of their own in Wanindu Hasaranga, who claimed the grounds of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan in four excellent overs. He has taken 34 wickets in 2021, the most by any bowler in a single year in this format.

But once Buttler began his acceleration, Sri Lanka had no response. His first 50 took 45 balls and his seconds 22 as it made the short limits seem microscopic. Morgan used 19 balls to reach eight and then another 17 to reach 40 and between them they dragged England to a total of 163 by four.

Sri Lanka, so deeply beaten in England in June and July, is a rapidly improving team, and this was a compelling competition until the final minutes.

Once again England took three wickets in the power play, but Sri Lanka remained on some sort of path to reach its goal until a dramatic late implosion. Mills’ injury helped, the fast pitcher stopped midway through the 14th to force Morgan to rethink England’s tactical plans. He settled on a devilishly crafty one: stolen from the man who often throws the 20, England finished the match at 19.

Hasaranga was primarily responsible for keeping Sri Lanka’s hopes alive for so long, the 24-year-old scored 34 of 21 and 53 for the sixth wicket with his captain, Dasun Shanaka. But once he was gone, the innings collapsed in a chaotic few minutes of wild punches and superlative fielding.

It started with Hasaranga picking up Liam Livingstone all the way, where Jason Roy ran to his left and aware that he was heading inexorably for the rope, threw the ball to substitute fielder Sam Billings to complete the catch.

Four balls later, Buttler took out Shanaka, running behind the stumps, removing his gloves as he advanced, before hitting the stumps from 15 yards. Three deep catches later 129 of five had become 137 total. Sri Lanka had proven that England is fallible, but they couldn’t bring them down.

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