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While many called Sri Lanka's win over England at Headingley on Friday as one of the biggest upsets of the 2019 World Cup, former India opener Virender Sehwag feels that it has made the showpiece event more lively and interesting. Sri Lanka beat England by 20 runs in a thrilling contest.
Taking to Twitter, Sehwag wrote: "Excellent performance from Sri Lanka to beat England. England have India, Australia and New Zealand to play with and will have to win 2 out of these 3. World Cup is alive #EngvSL (sic)."
Lasith Malinga starred with a four-wicket haul as Sri Lanka stunned pre-tournaments favourites England at the Headingley Cricket Ground. Malinga (4/43) became the fourth bowler to pick 50-plus wickets in World Cup history as Dhananjaya de Silva (3/32) and Isuru Udana 2/41) played the supporting role to perfection.
For England, Ben Stokes remained not out on 82 off 89 balls, his fighting innings laced with seven fours and four sixes, as he tried hard to stage a miraculous comeback with No. 11 Mark Wood (0). But in the end, Stokes fell short as Wood nicked Nuwan Pradeep (1/38) to the wicketkeeper in the 47th over.
England were 186/9 with 47 runs still to get when Wood joined Stokes in the middle. Stokes did brilliantly well to not expose him in Malinga's last over and then smashed Udana for two consecutive sixes in the 46th over and then hit two back-to-back fours off Pradeep in the next.
Trusting Wood would to block the last ball of the over, Stokes took a single. But as it turned out, the fast bowler could not stave off the Lankan surge as the 1996 champions erupted in joy.
The 35-year old Malinga is now the second Sri Lankan after Muttiah Muralitharan (68) to join the club - with Glenn McGrath (71) and Wasim Akram (55) being the other bowlers.
With the victory, Sri Lanka moved to fifth place with six points from six games while England remained third with eight in their kitty from six outings.
Chasing a modest 233 for victory, England kept losing wickets at regular intervals from the beginning with Malinga creating havoc and keeping the Lankans in the game.