Sri Lanka reach Champions Trophy semis

Sri Lanka beat Australia by 20 runs to reach the last four finishing second behind England in Group A.

    Sri Lanka reach Champions Trophy semis
    The Sri Lankans will play Group B winners India in the last four on Thursday [Reuters]

    Sri Lanka barged into the Champions Trophy semi-finals with a 20-run victory over holders Australia in the last group match at the Oval in London on Monday.

    The Islanders, who needed a win to remain in the competition, rode on aggressive half-centuries from Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne to score 253-8 after being sent in to bat.

    Seamer Nuwan Kulasekara then picked up three wickets, effected a run-out and took a catch as the Australians were bowled out for 233 in 42.3 overs.

    Sri Lanka and England finished level with four points each, but the hosts topped the group due to a superior net run-rate and will meet group B runners-up South Africa in Wednesday's semi-final at the Oval.

    Sri Lanka will clash with group B winners India in the second semi-final in Cardiff on Thursday in a repeat of the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai which the Indians won.

    The final is scheduled to be played at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Sunday.



    Sri Lanka

    K Perera lbw b Johnson 4
    T Dilshan c Watson b Doherty 34
    K Sangakkara c Maxwell b McKay 3
    L Thirimanne c Watson b Johnson 57
    M Jayawardene not out 84
    A Mathews b Faulkner 12
    D Chandimal c Hughes b Johnson 31
    N Kulasekera run out (Maxwell) 6
    R Herath run out (Marsh) 2
    L Malinga not out 2
    Extras 18
    TOTAL (for eight wickets, 50 overs) 253
    Fall: 1-8 2-20 3-92 4-128 5-159 6-224 7-234 8-244

    Australia innings

    S Watson b Kulasekera 5
    P Hughes c Sangakkara b Kulasekera 13
    G Maxwell b Malinga 32
    G Bailey run out (Kulasekera) 4
    A Voges c Eranga b Herath 49
    M Marsh b Mathews 4
    M Wade c Dilshan b Kulasekera 31
    J Faulkner c Sangakkara b Herath 17
    M Johnson c Kulasekera b Eranga 4
    C McKay c & b Dilshan 30
    X Doherty not out 15
    Extras 29
    TOTAL (all out, 42.3 overs) 233
    Fall: 1-9 2-45 3-59 4-69 5-80 6-127 7-163 8-168 9-192

    Jayawardene, who became the eighth batsman to complete 11,000 one-day runs when he reached 62, anchored the middle-order with an unbeaten 84 off 81 balls.

    Australia, who needed to win in 29.1 overs to qualify, made a brave bid to force their first victory in the tournament with belligerent batting led by Adam Voges' top score of 49.

    The Aussies were 192-9 when the last-wicket pair of Clint McKay and Xavier Doherty gave Sri Lanka a fright by adding 41 amid mounting tension.

    Tillakaratne Dilshan ended the drama with a spectacular return catch to dismiss McKay, who made a career-best 30. Doherty remained unbeaten on 15.

    The fightback would have been followed keenly by New Zealand, who would have joined England in the semi-finals if the last pair had scored the remaining runs.

    In the end, the Black Caps were stranded on three points, one behind both England and Sri Lanka. Australia finished with just one point through a rain-affected game.

    Glenn Maxwell smashed 32 off 20 balls as Australia raced to 59-2 in 6.3 overs before he was bowled off sling-arm fast bowler Lasith's Malinga third delivery.

    Maxwell, a million-dollar signee with Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians, hit five fours and a six before falling to his IPL team-mate.

    Kulasekara, who bowled Shane Watson and had Phil Hughes caught behind, ran out Australian skipper George Bailey with a direct throw from fine leg to make it 69-4 in the ninth over.

    Matthew Wade picked up the scoring rate with a 22-ball 31 that contained four boundaries and a six, adding 47 for the sixth wicket with Voges.

    Voges was ninth out, caught in the deep off Rangana Herath, before McKay and Doherty delayed the end.

    Sri Lanka lost left-hander Kusal Perera off the third ball of the match, leg-before to left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who finished with three wickets for 48 runs.

    Dilshan (34) helped Thirimanne (57) resurrect the innings with a 72-run stand for the third wicket.



    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.