New Zealand returned to winning ways to end a streak of four successive defeats as they outplayed Sri Lanka by 6 wickets to put one foot in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2023 on Thursday.
Chasing a small target of 172 for victory, the Black Caps chased it down in just 23.2 overs to consolidate their position in fourth place on the points table and virtually knock Pakistan out of contention for the semis.
Conway, Ravindra in brisk start
It was important for the Kiwis to win handsomely to stay ahead of the other contenders and that is exactly what they did thanks to swashbuckling knocks from Devon Conway (45) and Rachin Ravindra (42), who added 86 for the opening stand before Daryll Mitchell took them near the finish line with his knock of 43 off 31 balls.
Boult leads with the ball
Earlier in the day, Trent Boult and Co helped bowl out Sri Lanka for a paltry total of 171 in 46.4 overs at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
Boult bagged three wickets while Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Santer and Rachin Ravindra took two each for the Kiwis.
Kusal Perera smashed the fastest fifty of this tournament, off 27 balls while Maheesh Theekshana remained unbeaten on 38 but the rest of the batting order failed to fire once again which led to their downfall.
India most likely to face New Zealand in semis
New Zealand (NRR: +0.743) have 10 points after their league engagements and they will in all likelihood join India, Australia and South Africa in the last four stage, unless Pakistan or Afghanistan, who are on eight points apiece, create some miracle.
In their final league match, Pakistan (NRR: +0.036) will face England on Saturday while Afghanistan (NRR: -0.338) will lock horns with South Africa on Friday.