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World Twenty20: Sri Lanka romp into semis after Rangana Herath heroics

Chittagong, Bangladesh: Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath recorded astonishing figures of 5-3 to help Sri Lanka demolish New Zealand by 59 runs on Monday in the race for the World Twenty20 semi-finals.

The spinner rocked New Zealand, chasing a modest 120-run total, in his 3.3 destructive overs to bowl them out for 60 in 15.3 overs in Chittagong — the Black Caps’ lowest total in T20s.

The victory gave the 2012 runners-up their fourth successive semi-final place. They play the winners of Tuesday’s game in group two between defending champions the West Indies and Pakistan.

The first semi-final will be in Dhaka on Thursday. The 2007 champions India take on South Africa in the second semi on Friday. The final will be played in Dhaka on Sunday.

It was fourth time unlucky for New Zealand, who played the semi-final only in the inaugural edition of the World Twenty20 in 2007.

Needing some sensible batting to overhaul a paltry total, New Zealand batted in a dismal manner, with opener Kane Williamson the only man to reach double figures with 42.

He was the eighth man out and, with Corey Anderson unable to bat due to a finger injury sustained while fielding, Herath wrapped up the match with Trent Boult’s wicket.

New Zealand lost opener Martin Guptill (five) in the fourth over, run out in Herath’s first over.

After playing four dot balls, New Zealand’s most dangerous batsman Brendon McCullum jumped out off Herath and was stumped.

Herath then trapped Ross Taylor (nought) leg before and bowled Jimmy Neesham off successive deliveries to push New Zealand on to the back foot.

It became 29-5 in Herath’s third over when he had Luke Ronchi (two) leg before wicket to improve on his previous best figures of 3-25 in the 2012 semi-final against Pakistan in Colombo.

Fellow spinner Sachitra Senanayake took 2-3 in his three overs.

New Zealand’s previous lowest Twenty20 total of 80 came against Pakistan at Auckland two years ago. It also becomes the third lowest total ever in all T20s, behind the Netherland’s 39, also against Sri Lanka here last Monday, and 56 by Kenya against Afghanistan at Sharjah last year.

Earlier, left-arm paceman Boult and Neesham took three wickets apiece to wreck Sri Lanka for a paltry 119 in 19.2 overs after they were sent in to bat.

Left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan took 2-24.

Boult had opener Kusal Perera (16) in his first over and then dismissed Tillakaratne Dilshan (eight) and Kumar Sangakkara (four) to give New Zealand a headstart to the match.

Mahela Jayawardene, who top-scored with a 32-ball 25, added 30 for the fourth wicket with Lahiru Thirimanne (20) before the former captain was bowled round his legs in the 15th over.

Thisara Perera hit three boundaries in his 13-ball 16 before Neesham took three wickets in 14 balls to rout the pre-tournament favourites.

Sri Lanka were without their regular T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal, suspended for a slow over-rate. Lasith Malinga stepped in as skipper.

Thirimanne and Herath had replaced Chandimal and Ajantha Mendis in the team that lost to England last Thursday.

New Zealand kept faith in the same side which beat the Netherlands on Saturday.

Brief scores

Group 1

Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 59 runs

Sri Lanka 119 all out in 19.2 overs (M. Jayawardene 25; T. Boult 3-20, J. Neesham 3-22) New Zealand 60 all out in 15.3 overs (M. Guptill 42; R. Herath 5-3). Toss: New Zealand

Final standings

Team P W L T NR Pts NetRR

Sri Lanka 4 3 1 0 0 6 +2.233

South Africa 4 3 1 0 0 6 +0.075

New Zealand 4 2 2 0 0 4 -0.678

England 4 1 3 0 0 2 -0.776

Netherlands 4 1 3 0 0 2 -0.866