Herath puts Sri Lanka into semi-final

Updated: Monday, 31 Mar 2014 18:06

Spinner Rangana Herath produced the bowling performance of the tournament as Sri Lanka progressed to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 by rolling New Zealand for just 60.

Herath, making his first appearance of the competition in place of Ajantha Mendis, produced a magical spell - claiming five for three in 3.3 overs of imperious left-arm spin.

He ripped the heart out of the Black Caps batting line-up, removing Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Jimmy Neesham for ducks.

It meant Sri Lanka's modest 119 all out was enough for a 59-run win and also condemned the exiting Kiwis to their lowest ever T20 total.

At the changeover Sri Lanka would have been disappointed with their total, not least their failure to bat the overs out.

Things had started brightly, Kyle Mills' opening over costing 12 as Kusal Perera hit an early six and four.

But Trent Boult had different ideas and accounted for each of the top three in his opening burst.

Perera was first down, feathering down the leg side for 16, while Tillakaratne Dilshan was out to mis-judging his trademark scoop.

The out-of-form Kumar Sangakkara then continued his poor run when he looped a gentle catch to Corey Anderson at mid-off for four.

Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirmanne then rebuilt to the tune of 30 runs in five overs before the latter steered a poor Neesham ball down third man's throat.

New Zealand kept applying pressure through wickets, Angelo Mathews in and out for six and Jayawardene finally bowled on the sweep by Nathan McCullum for 25 in 32 balls.

At 85 for six things looked bad, but although the Black Caps hoovered up all four wickets, handy runs from Thisara Perera (16) and Sachithra Senanayake (17) boosted the tally towards credibility.

The reply began somewhat serenely, Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill making their way to 18 in three overs.

But the introduction of Herath changed the game.

He combined with Sangakkara to run out Guptill off his first delivery and then claimed the key scalp, Brendon McCullum tempted down the track only to be stumped for a duck.

His next over was just as deadly, Herath pinning Taylor lbw then clattering Neesham's leg stump, both without scoring.

His third over brought a fourth success, Luke Ronchi perplexed by turn and trapped leg before.

At 29 for five the target looked mountainous and Sri Lanka rammed home their advantage when Senanayake got in on the act by seeing off Nathan McCullum and Mills without fuss.

While chaos raged around him Williamson compiled a steady 42, though his departure, wastefully run out in the 16th over, left his side on the brink.

With Anderson unable to bat due to a dislocated finger Herath ended things by picking off Boult.