PALLEKELE - Slinging bowler Lasith Malinga took a career-best five wickets as Sri Lanka beat England by 19 runs to reach the World Twenty20 semi-finals and send the defending champions crashing out yesterday.
Malinga took 5-31 as England, chasing a daunting 170-run target, were restricted to 9-150 in the Super Eights match at Pallekele stadium before a packed and rowdy crowd of 30,000.
The victory meant Sri Lanka and the West Indies reach the semi-finals after the hosts won all their three matches in the Super Eights. West Indies earlier enjoyed a dramatic Super Over win against New Zealand.
"The guys played really well. Lasith is unbelievable, both with the new ball and with the old ball," said Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara.
"It would be fantastic if we can win it (the title) but the focus is to keep our feet on the ground," said Sangakkara.
England batsman Samit Patel fought a lonely battle with a career-high 67 but Malinga and spinner Akila Dananjaya (2-26) ensured Sri Lanka did not lose control after scoring 6-169 when they were sent to bat first.
England's chase did not get the desired start as they were rocked by Malinga in the third over when they lost Luke Wright (12), caught off the third ball, Jonny Bairstow (two) off the fifth and Alex Hales off the sixth for three.
It needed a fourth-wicket stand of 55 between Patel and Eoin Morgan (10) to repair the early damage but England then lost Morgan and Ravi Bopara in the space of three runs.
Malinga then returned for his second over to dismiss Jos Buttler, caught in the deep for one, while captain Stuart Broad gave a simple catch off Dananjaya for one to leave England in disarray.