T20 World Cup: Warner, Zampa script easy win for Australia

Australia's David Warner plays a shot during the match against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Thursday. (AFP)
Australia's David Warner plays a shot during the match against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Thursday. (AFP)

Dubai - Australia beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Dubai


Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 9:12 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Oct 2021, 9:29 PM

Five days after South Africa made Australia huff and puff while defending a paltry 119 in the opening game, Aaron Finch’s men were on cruise control at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Showing genuine class and depth, Australia doused the fire of a talented but inexperienced Sri Lankan team, scripting an emphatic seven-wicket win.

For the record, it was their second straight victory in the T20 World Cup. But more importantly, the sheer weight of their all-round performance will tempt the pundits to club them with England and Pakistan as one of the biggest favourites for the title here in UAE.

The Adam Zampa-inspired Australian bowlers showed great skills and maturity to restrict the former champions to a modest score of 154 for six after Finch had won toss and decided to field.

Then Finch (37 off 23 balls) and David Warner (65 off 42 balls, 10 fours) dismantled the Lankan attack, killing the game as a contest in the powerplay, having raced to 63/0 after six overs.

While Finch fell to the wrong one from the skillful Wanindu Hasaranga (4-0-22-2), Warner regained his rhythm as he pulled, drove and swept the Lankan bowlers, registering his first half-century in six T20 games.

Steve Smith (28 not out off 26 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (16 not out off 7 balls) then took the Australians home with three overs to spare.

Earlier, Zampa’s turn and control inspired an Australian comeback after Sri Lanka had looked set for big score, thanks to an impressive display of attacking batting from Charith Asalanka (35 off 27 balls) and Kusal Perera (35 off 25 balls).

But Zampa turned Australia’s fortunes around as the Lankans collapsed from 78 for one in 9.3 overs to 94 for five, losing four wickets for just 16 runs.

If not for a superb fightback from Bhanuka Rajapaksa (33 not out off 26 balls), Sri Lanka would have struggled to reach even the 150 mark.

When Asalanka and Perera, the two talented left-handers, joined hands and started dominating the attack after the early dismissal of Pathum Nissanka (7), it seemed Sri Lanka would leave a daunting target for the Aussies to chase.

But Zampa’s introduction in the eighth over turned the game on its head as the leg-spinner had Asalanka caught by Smith in the deep before dismissing Avishka Fernando (4) with a well-flighted delivery.

Before the fall of Fernando’s wicket, Mitchell Starc (4-0-27-2), the pick of the Australian pace bowlers, got his second of the evening with a perfect yorker to rattle the stumps of Perera.

The Sri Lankans were in deep trouble, but Rajapaksa’ calm head and classy shots helped them score 43 runs off the last four overs.

In the end, the late flourish from Lanka failed to challenge the hugely experienced Australian batting line-up.

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