Sri Lanka and New Zealand had a lot to play for in this Group 1 encounter at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. The winner would go through to the T20 World Cup semi-final. Heading into this T20 World Cup encounter, Sri Lanka and New Zealand met each other 4 times in T20 World Cups. Sri Lanka won 3 of those 4 encounters and New Zealand had won just one match against Sri Lanka in T20 World Cups encounters before this match. The venue for this encounter favoured Lasith Malingaís men. It was a spinnerís paradise and batting was a nightmare for both teams.
New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum, won the toss and was elected to field first. New Zealand bowled Sri Lanka out for 119 in 19.2 overs. There were 5 batsmen who reached double-figures for Sri Lanka, and Sri Lankaís highest scorer was Mahela Jayawardene, who mustered a handy 25 off 32 balls hitting 2 fours. Trent Boult and James Neesham picked up 3 wickets each, while Mitchell McClenaghan picked up 2 wickets. Kyle Mills and Nathan McCullum picked up a wicket each.
New Zealand fast bowlers picked up 90% of the wickets, however, the pitch had been purchased for the spin bowlers. New Zealand only had one spin bowler in Nathan McCullum. Sri Lankaís bowling attack comprised three pacers, 2 spinners, and the more-than-useful spin of part-time bowler Tillakaratne Dilshan. The Kiwis had a target of 120 to chase and enter their 1st T20 World Cup semi-final since the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa. Sri Lanka had reached the T20 World Cup semi-final in 2010, and the T20 World Cup final in 2009 and 2012. Plus, they reached the 50-over World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011. They were close to winning an ICC tournament. The question was, would 120 be enough for Sri Lanka to defend? Well, it proved to be more than enough.
Sri Lanka bowled New Zealand out for 60 in 15.3 overs. Corey Anderson did not bat as he dislocated a finger while attempting a catch at long-on during Sri Lankaís innings. The Sri Lankan veteran, Rangana Herath, was at his wily best. The Kiwi batsmen had no answer to Herathís brilliance. In one of the great T20 bowling spells, Herath picked up figures of 5/3 off 3.3 overs and he bowled 2 maidens. He did not concede a wide or bowl a single no-ball. He bowled 18 dot balls out of 21 deliveries.
Herath had an astonishing dot ball percentage of 85.71% in that spell. Herath got rid of 4 of New Zealandís top 6 including the big wickets of New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum, and Ross Taylor. He also dismissed Luke Ronchi, James Neesham, and Trent Boult. Herath bowled 2 double-wicket maidens. One of those 2 double-wicket maidens involved a run-out. At one stage, Herath was on a hat trick. when he dismissed Ross Taylor and James Neesham in consecutive balls.
The first of Herathís 5 victims was McCullum. He bowled 4 consecutive dot balls in the lead-up to McCullumís dismissal. He then dismissed McCullum with a lovely flighted delivery that tempted McCullum to come out of his crease. McCullum missed the ball, and the wicket-keeper, Kumar Sangakkara, stumped McCullum. The next victim was Ross Taylor.
He bowled 4 consecutive dot balls to Ross Taylor and then had him trapped with a flatter and quicker delivery. The very next ball, Herath beat Neesham with a delivery that he tossed up and spun between the gap between pad and bat. The result: the ball hit the leg stump. Herath beat Luke Ronchi with a delivery pitched on the middle stump that turned away and hit Ronchi on the back pad. The umpire gave Ronchi out lbw. The last victim of Herathís spell was Trent Boult, who Herath saw come down the track.
Herath shortened his length, and Boult edged the ball to Mahela Jayawardene, who was at slip. An immaculate spell of left-arm orthodox spin bowling from the Sri Lankan veteran on a big stage. He received the Man of the Match Award for his outstanding spell of left-arm spin bowling. Sri Lanka went onto defeat the West Indies in the semi-final and defeat the undefeated Indian team in the final to win their maiden T20 World Cup crown.