Marcus Stoinis hit the second-fastest half-century in the Men’s T20 World Cup as
Australia bounced back from their opening defeat with a seven-wicket win over Sri
Stoinis smashed 59 from 18 balls as Australia reached their target with 21 balls to
spare in Perth.
Charith Asalanka earlier hit 40 from 45 balls as Sri Lanka scraped to 157-6.
The win eases the pressure on holders Australia, who went into the game bottom of
Group One in the Super 12s.
It moves them up to fourth before their crucial meeting with England in Melbourne
on Friday (09:00 BST).
Sri Lanka face Afghanistan at the same venue earlier on the same day (05:00).
Australia went into this match under pressure after their 89-run defeat by New
Zealand left them with little room for error, even at this early stage of the
They not only needed to win but do so convincingly to improve their poor net run
rate, while a second defeat would have made it extremely difficult for them to qualify
for the semi-finals.
The match was in the balance when Stoinis strolled to the crease in the 13th over,
with Australia 97-3 and just eight runs ahead of Sri Lanka’s score at the same stage.
But a brutal display of power hitting hauled the hosts over the line, with his knock
featuring four fours and six sixes in just 22 minutes.
“It was a pretty special innings,” said Australia captain Aaron Finch. “To come out
with that intent is the main thing, when you come out with that presence it is one of
main things in T20 cricket and with his power, that makes him pretty hard to stop.”
Finch had earlier won the toss and opted to chase for the sixth game in a row –
despite failing to win any of their previous five.
But after being smashed for 200 by New Zealand on Saturday, Australia began with
much more intent, removing the dangerous Kusal Mendis for five in the second over.
David Warner also took a superb diving catch at long-off to remove Dhananjaya de
Silva just as he was looking to accelerate and leave Sri Lanka flagging on 75-2 in the
Their attempts to up the scoring rate lead to some rash decision-making, including
an awful mix-up between Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka that saw Nissanka
run out for four.
Sri Lanka were struggling on 120-6 before a spirited rearguard effort from Charith
Asalanka and Chamika Karunaratne, including 31 from the final two overs.
Australia made a tentative start to the chase, failing to score a boundary in the
powerplay for the first time in their T20 international history as they limped to 33-1.
But Sri Lanka’s spinners, so often their strength, wilted in the middle overs. Wanindu
Hasaranga was subjected to some particularly brutal treatment, ending with figures
of 0-53 from three overs.
Glenn Maxwell, who hit 23 off 12, and Mitchell Marsh, who added 18 off 17, were the
main beneficiaries, before Stoinis’ remarkable hitting saw Australia home.
“We were five out of 10 today,” said Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka. “We started
well but in the middle overs we didn’t get going so we would have missed around 15
or 20 runs.
“It was tough with the new ball. It was in the latter part of the game Australia played