Against all odds Sri Lanka, whose performance in the tournament so far can only be described as utterly pathetic, today beat England, a team strongly tipped to win the tournament, in an exciting match. This was the first real upset so far in the tournament where the favorites have tended to win easily, the closest contender being the victory by Bangladesh over the West Indies though in that case it was an upset when viewed as a relative newcomer to Test cricket beating a Team that has been around for a long time. But Bangladesh has been surging recently while West Indies has been uneven and so the result was not really stunning.
But today’s result took everyone by surprise because Sri Lanka’s batting especially has been awful with only the captain Dimuth Karunaratne showing any form. The rest of the batting lineup has been collapsing spectacularly game after game, with the people one expected most from like Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews getting out very cheaply. Even today, Sri Lanka batting first posted a very modest total of 232, thanks to Mathews and Mendis finally scoring some runs. The target they set should have been one that England reached easily but excellent bowling by the veteran Lasith Malinga rocked them back and while a late effort by Ben Stokes gave England some hope, it was not to be, and their innings folded after scoring 212 runs, even though England had scored over 300 in eight of its last nine matches.
This does not change the main picture though. Australia, New Zealand, England, and India are the current table leaders and look like they will be the ones who make it to the semi-final round, barring any more major upsets.
The big disappointment has been South Africa who have won only one out of their six matches and has, along with Afghanistan, been eliminated from semi-final contention. Performing poorly in these international tournaments despite having a good team is something that South Africa has done repeatedly. Afghanistan has not had a good tournament either, disappointing those of us who were cheering for this underdog. They not only have lost all the five matches they have played so far, they have not really threatened in any of them. Pakistan and West Indies have also had poor tournaments, each winning just one of their five games played so far, though they have played well at times.