Australia has kept their Cricket World Cup hopes alive with a win over Sri Lanka, but will likely need to win five out of their last six pool matches to qualify for the quarter finals.
The victory over the Sri Lankans has seen the Australians odds of winning the World Cup move from $8, into $7, which puts them on the fourth line of betting with online bookmakers.
The Aussies next face a crunch clash against Pakistan on Friday, with bookmakers pricing them at $1.60 to defeat the Pakistan outfit, before testing games against New Zealand and Netherlands.
Australia climbed up the standings to eighth, securing their first win, thanks to standout performances from Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa. The duo played pivotal roles in dramatically overturning Sri Lanka’s momentum, guiding Australia to a five-wicket win in the Lucknow contest.
Sri Lanka would be bitterly disappointed after losing nine wickets for just 52 runs to be bowled out for 209. A sudden rain interruption in the 33rd over saw them further deteriorate, with a loss of 6-31. They began with a promising stance, with opening batsmen Kusal Perera and Pathum Nissanka forming a partnership of 125 runs.
Australia’s pursuit for victory had its shaky moments. The initial phase saw them reeling at 2-24 due to the fierce bowling of Dilshan Madushanka. This brought back memories of their recent disheartening performance against the Proteas.
Mitch Marsh, however, shifted gears, marking the first tournament fifty for Australia. His run was short-lived, and just when things looked uncertain, Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Inglis stepped up. Though neither could see the chase through to the end, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis efficiently closed the game, reaching the 210-run target with ample overs to spare.
Interestingly, had Cummins won the toss, Australia would’ve chosen to bat. The decision to bat first by the Sri Lankan captain, Kusal Mendis, initially seemed justified as they smoothly moved towards another 300-plus score. Yet, the Australian leadership had other plans. Cummins’ impactful wickets and Zampa’s rapid dismissals shifted the balance towards Australia.
Zampa was especially lethal, narrowly missing a hat-trick. His target was Mendis, who had been exceptional in the tournament’s beginning. The consistency of Zampa and Cummins effectively crushed Sri Lanka’s middle-order, with Maxwell also contributing significantly.
Despite the win, Australia wasn’t without fault. Some missed opportunities in the form of burned reviews and tough dropped catches were evident. Nevertheless, David Warner’s exceptional fielding prowess was a saving grace.
Australia opened their World Cup campaign with a loss to India, before their disappointing display against South Africa.
Currently, Australia stands eighth on the leaderboard and is set to face Pakistan in Bengaluru next.
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