Chittagong (Bangladesh), March 31:
Rangana Herath spun Sri Lanka into the semi-finals with a brilliant five for three in the massive 59-run demolition of New Zealand in a low-scoring Group 1 encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhary Stadium here Monday.
Playing his first match of the tournament, Herath ripped apart the New Zealand top order with a sensational fifer as Sri Lanka joined South Africa as the second team from Group 1 in the semis.
Chasing a small target of 120, none of the Kiwi batsmen, barring Kane Williamson (42), managed to get to double figures.
Skipper Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Jimmy Neshan all fell to Herath without opening their account. The left-arm spinner also picked up Luke Ronchi (2) and wrapped up the innings for 60 runs in 15.3 overs by dismissing Trent Boult (3).
Stand-in skipper Lasith Malinga, who was leading in place of Dinesh Chandimal, introduced Herath into the attack in the fourth over and the spinner made an immediate impact with a well executed run out of opening batsman Martin Guptill (5), who after set off for a straight single after pushing the ball to mid-on. But Williamson declined the single and Herath did well to cut the path of the ball and threw it straight to the keeper to trigger a run out.
McCullum was kept quiet for few moments but gave away his wicket while trying to break the shackles. The Kiwi skipper failed to read a flighted delivery from Herath as he stepped out to miss and keeper Kumar Sangakkara did the rest as New Zealand lost two wickets in the fourth over and were reduced to 18/2.
Herath again struck twice with consecutive deliveries in his next over to trap Taylor leg-before and knocked-off Neeshan’s leg-stumps.
Off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake was also exceptional with his figures of two for three from three overs. He got rid of Nathan McCullum (2) and Kyle Mills (4) as New Zealand were reduced to 51/7 before Herath returned to wipe out the tail. All-rounder Corey Anderson couldn’t come out to bat since he had dislocatedA a finger while attempting a catch.
Earlier, Sri Lanka, who were put in, struggled miserable and were bowled out for 119 runs with four balls to spare. Mahela Jayawardene was the top scorer with 25 while Lahiru Thirimane made 17. Trent Boult (3/20) and Neeshan (3/22) shared six wickets while Mitchell McClenaghan got two for 24.