Kumar Sangakkara’s unbeaten hundred and “Nightwatchman” Nuwan Kulasekara’s quick half-century guided Sri Lanka to a seven-wicket victory over England. This not only makes Sri Lanka’s chances still alive in the tournament, but also provided other teams with a possibility of making it to the final four. Unfortunately, Pakistan are the only team whose exit from the tournament has been confirmed, while the chances of six other teams to qualify for the semi-finals are still on. India have already qualified for the last four.

[caption id="attachment_1529" align="alignright" width="223"]Sangakkara’s 15th ODI century was the key factor in the team’s victory (Photo: Getty Images) Sangakkara’s 15th ODI century was the key factor in the team’s victory (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]

Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera early in pursuit of the 294-run target. As a result, the team’s total dependence shifted on the experienced trio of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara. The three had failed to performed against the side’s first match against New Zealand and, consequently, Sri Lanka lost the thriller. But they could not afford a defeat against England as it was a do-or-die match for them – and they did and did not die. Dilshan and Sangakkara added 92 runs in the second wicket, laying the foundations of victory. Dilshan was dismissed at a time when he was just six runs from his half-century owing to wrong selection of the shot, making Sri Lanka lose their second wicket before reaching the triple figures.

Now Sri Lanka were hinging on old saviours of the team – Sangakkara and Jayawardene. And they lived to expectations. For the next 14 overs, it seemed impossible for the hosts to claim a wicket. Jayawardene lost his wicket in the first over of the powerplay because of a mediocre shot selection, and had the team lost, this would have been the turning point of the game. Now Sri Lanka were 187 for three, needing another 107 run on 88 balls.

Considering the powerplay, captain Angelo Matthews held Dinesh Chandima and himself, and send Kulasekara. After initial failure in playing right shots and a number of dot balls, Kulasekara’s bat started pouring out runs in leaps and bound. He hit two sixes to Graeme Swann and then two fours a six to Stuart Broad to snatch the victory from England’s clutches.

From the other end, Sangakkara completed his 15th ODI century, which included eight fours and was the need of the time. Sangakkara played the match-winning stroke on the first ball of the 48th over.

[caption id="attachment_1530" align="alignright" width="246"]English bowlers failed to claim wickets and stop the flow of runs (Photo: ICC) English bowlers failed to claim wickets and stop the flow of runs (Photo: ICC)[/caption]

Both players returned unbeaten to the pavilion, with Sangakkara scoring 134 off 135 and Kulasekara scoring 58 off 38.

James Anderson took two while Swann took one wicket.

Earlier, Sri Lanka put England into bat after finding the conditions favourable for the bowlers, But the decision proved wrong until at least 45 overs. Alastair Cook and Ian Bell provided England with an opening stand of 48 runs. In the second wicket, the captain added 83 runs along with Jonathan Trott. Then after Cook’s dismissal in the 29th over, Trott made another partnership of 87 runs, this time with Joe Root. The strength of English batting line-up can be gauged by the fact that they had lost just two wickets on 218. At the time when England seemed poised to set a huge target, their batsmen failed. Their batting line-up collapsed with the departures of Root and Eoin Morgan in one over and after the back-to-back dismissals of Jos Buttler and Tim Bresnan. Ravi Bopara, however, compensated the loss to a considerable extent by his 33 off 13, studded with two fours and three sixes. As many as 28 runs were scored in the last over but England failed to cross the 300 mark. Trott was the top-scorer for the hosts with his 76, followed by Root (68) and Cook (59).

Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga and Rangana Herath took two wickets apiece while one wicket was taken by Kulasekara.

Sangakkara was declared as the man of the match.

The Group A is now open for every team to qualify for the semi-finals.

England vs Sri Lanka

Champions Trophy, Match 8

June 13, 2013

Venue: The Oval, London

Result: Sri Lanka won by 7wickets

Man of the match: Kumar Sangakakra

Alastair Cooklbw b Herath598530
Ian Bellc Perera b Eranga203730
Jonathan Trottlbw b Herath768750
Joe Rootc Jayawardene b Malinga685550
Eoin Morganlbw b Malinga131010
Jos Buttlerc Sangakkara b Kulasekara0200
Ravi Boparanot out331323
Tim Bresnanb Eranga4700
Stuart Broadnot out7410
Extras(leg-byes 10, wides 3)13
Total(7 wickets; 50 overs)293


Sri Lanka (bowling)OversMaidensRunsWickets
Nuwan Kulasekara100421
Lasith Malinga102582
Shaminda Eranga100802
Angelo Mathews60280
Rangana Herath100462
Tillakaratne Dilshan40290


not out

سری لنکاTarget: 294 runsRunsBalls4s6s
Kusal Pererac Bopara b Anderson61110
Tillakaratne Dilshanc Root b Swann445631
Kumar Sangakkaranot out134135120
Mahela Jayawardenec sub (JM Bairstow) b Anderson424331
Nuwan Kulasekaranot out583853
Extras(leg-bye 6, wides 7)13
Total(3 wickets; 47.1 overs)297


England (bowling)OversMaidenRunsWickets
James Anderson100512
Stuart Broad8.10670
Tim Bresnan100630
Joe Root30270
Graeme Swann100501
Ravi Bopara60330
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