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New Zealand’s win over Sri Lanka bring them to the brink of World Cup semis

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The Black Caps remain in fourth position on the table with 10 points, ahead of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and with a superior net run rate.

New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson (left) and teammate Martin Guptill celebrate. File Picture: Aamir QURESHI, AFP

Trent Boult led an inspired bowling display to help New Zealand down Sri Lanka by five wickets on Thursday and move to the brink of the World Cup semi-finals.

Chasing a modest 172 for victory in their last league match, New Zealand rode on an opening stand between Devon Conway (45) and Rachin Ravindra (42) to achieve the target with 160 balls to spare, in Bengaluru.

The Kiwis remain in fourth position with 10 points, ahead of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and with a superior net run rate.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan need improbable victory margins in their last matches against England and South Africa to have any chance of making the final four.

“There’s a few teams that could end up on similar points,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

The Black Caps bounced back from four straight losses to close in on a likely semi-final clash against undefeated India.

Ravindra, who also took two wickets, added to his blazing form in the tournament – including three centuries – to edge past Quinton de Kock and top the batting chart with 565 runs.

Both left-handed openers struck regular boundaries before Dushmantha Chameera broke through with the wicket of Conway, and Ravindra soon followed his partner to the pavilion.

Williamson fell for 14 and Mark Chapaman was run out, but Daryl Mitchell’s attacking 43 ensured a comfortable finish, despite his departure 10 runs short of the target.

Boult returned figures of 3/37 after the Kiwis elected to field first and bundled Sri Lanka out for 171 in 46.4 overs.

Opener Kusal Perera smashed 51, but the rest of the batting fell apart.

Sri Lanka slipped to 128/9 before No.9 Maheesh Theekshana (38 not out) and Dilshan Madushanka (19) put on a 43-run, 10th-wicket stand to add some respect to the total.

Sri Lanka lost half their side for 70 inside 10 overs after Lockie Ferguson sent back Perera, who hit nine fours and two sixes in his 28-ball knock.

Boult took the wickets of skipper Kusal Mendis (6), Sadeera Samarawickrama (1) and Charith Asalanka (8).

Leg-spinner Mitchell Santner struck twice to claim the key wickets of Angelo Mathews (16) and Dhananjaya de Silva (19).

Mathews looked dejected after being caught at slip in his first innings after his timed-out dismissal – the first in international cricket history – in the team’s previous loss to Bangladesh.

It was Sri Lanka’s seventh loss in nine league matches.

AFP

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