Australia defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets on Tuesday to earn their first victory at the T20 World Cup as Marcus Stoinis bludgeoned the nation’s quickest T20 half-century.
Australia decided to field after losing to New Zealand in the Super 12 opener and held Sri Lanka to a score of 157-6.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa had to be replaced because he was ruled out at the last minute after testing positive for COVID-19.
With the help of Stoinis, who forcefully hit six sixes in his undefeated 59 off 18 balls, the hosts responded with 158-3 in 16.3 overs.
The game’s man of the match, Stoinis, told reporters, “It was excellent slogging.”
“I must admit that I was rather anxious. The goal was to go influence the game and perhaps give the players a little extra vigour.”
As Australia’s seamers combined for three wickets against Sri Lanka with a bombardment of pace and bounce, the Perth Stadium deck might have passed for a WACA surface.
Pathum Nissanka (40) and Dhananjaya de Silva (26), two top-order batters, had trouble getting extra-bases but ran frantically between the wickets.
De Silva was denied a six in the eleventh over by a superb flick-back on the boundary by David Warner, and five balls later the batsman was out after lofting a catch to the same fielder at long-off.
Nissanka was run out by Mitchell Marsh, which set off a mini-collapse that was only stopped by Charith Asalanka’s late attack (38 not out off 25 balls) in the last overs.
When Sri Lanka took their time in the field, fast bowler Lahiru Kumara made full use of the pitch by consistently outpacing Aaron Finch (31 not out).
However, it was off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana (1-23) who struck first, tricking Warner into taking a fake shot (11).
Glenn Maxwell’s (23) inventive strokeplay gave Australia’s counterattack some momentum, but Stoinis dealt Australia the death blow when third-ranked T20 spinner Wanindu Hasaranga let up 53 runs in three wicketless overs.