Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Herath took five wickets and only gave away three runs from 3.3 overs
Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath wreaked havoc on the New Zealand batsmen as he recorded his maiden five-wicket haul to lead his side to a 59-run win in Chittagong and to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20.
Herath’s figures of 5-3 are the third-best bowling figures in Twenty20 International history.
The first two spots both belong to fellow Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis, who took 6-8 against Zimbabwe during the 2012 World Twenty20 and 6-16 against Australia in August 2011.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s decision to bowl first paid off early on as Sri Lanka opener Kusal Perera was caught behind off the bowling of Trent Boult for 16.
However, the decision stirred up some controversy as it seemed the ball hit Perera’s pad instead of his bat.
Perera’s opening partner, Tillakaratne Dilshan, only made eight runs before he was caught behind when attempting the infamous ‘dil-scoop’ off the bowling of Boult.
Kumar Sangakkara failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught by Corey Anderson at mid-off to become Boult’s third victim of the match.
Lahiru Thirimanne managed to make 20 runs before he was caught by Martin Guptill at deep third man off the bowling of James Neesham.
Angelo Mathews only made six runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan.
Mahela Jayawardene was the top-scorer with 25 runs before he was bowled round his legs by Nathan McCullum.
Nuwan Kulasekara failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Nathan McCullum at short cover off the bowling of McClenaghan for a golden duck.
Thisara Perera made a rapid 16 before he was caught by Kane Williamson in the cover region off the bowling of Kyle Mills.
Sachithra Senanayake hammered a quickfire 17 before he was also caught by Williamson, but only off the bowling of Neesham.
Sri Lanka stand-in captain Lasith Malinga did not have a memorable stay at the crease as he was clean bowled by Neesham for a golden duck.
Boult and Neesham picked up three wickets apiece, while McClenaghan snapped up two and Mills and McCullum chipped in with one wicket each as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 119.
Chasing 120 to win, New Zealand got off to a horrible start as Guptill was run out by Herath for five runs.
Brendon McCullum failed to trouble the scorers as he was stumped by Sangakkara off the bowling of Herath.
Herath struck twice in his next over as he trapped Ross Taylor lbw and clean bowled Neesham for a golden duck.
Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi only made two runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Herath.
Nathan McCullum fared no better as he was caught by Mathews at midwicket off the bowling of Senanayake for two runs.
Mills scored four runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Senanayake.
Williamson was the only batsman to reach double figures and accounted for 70 per cent of New Zealand’s runs with his solid knock of 42, which came off 43 balls and included six boundaries, before he was run out by Mathews.
Boult only made three runs before he was caught by Jayawardene at slip to become Herath’s fifth victim of the match.
Anderson did not bat as he was rushed to hospital after dislocating his finger when he dropped a catch.
Herath’s took a career-best five wickets, while Senanayake picked up two wickets.
McCullum was still in shock at what he had just witnessed, and said: “We knew there was a lot of hard work to go. [We] Knew we needed to be positive in the first six [overs]. It was a bit drier than we expected and Herath and Sachi, the way they bowled, was outstanding. They blew us away with about eight wickets for some 10 runs. [I] Wouldn’t say there was extra pressure, it was a quarter-final anyway. We just didn’t adapt ourselves and played some mindless cricket. We took some poor options and as a result of that we’re on the plane home.”
Malinga lauded Herath’s performance, and said: “This pitch has been slow consistently. I trusted my spinners. Herath was unbelievable. We were waiting for an occasion like this and we pulled through. Really lucky to have Angelo, Mahela and Dilshan to help me. They have good experience. Rangana was waiting for his chance and he proved himself really well. We have some other good spinners in Ajantha and Seekuge. We have a good opportunity with the turning wickets in Dhaka.”
Herath was named Man of the Match, and said: “What I realised was we needed wickets and I put the ball in the right place. Luckily the dew wasn’t there but we had a bad game against England. Nothing was wrong today, no dew.”