Sri Lanka romp into semis after Herath heroics

CHITTAGONG, March 31, 2014 (AFP) – Left-arm spin wizard Rangana Herath conjured up astonishing figures of 3-5 to help Sri Lanka demolish New Zealand by 59 runs Monday in the race for the World Twenty20 semi-finals. Thisara Perera hit three boundaries in his 13-ball 16 before Neesham took three wickets in 14 balls to rout the pre-tournament favourites.

Sri Lanka were without their regular T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal, suspended for a slow over-rate. Malinga stepped in as skipper.

Thirimanne and Herath had replaced Chandimal and Ajantha Mendis in the team which lost to England on Thursday.

New Zealand kept faith in the same side which beat the Netherlands on Saturday. The spinner rocked New Zealand, chasing a modest 120-run total, in his 3.3 destructive overs to bowl them for 60 in 15.3 overs in Chittagong — the Black Caps’ lowest total in T20s.

The victory gave the 2012 runners-up their fourth successive semi-final place. They play the winners of Tuesday’s game in group two between defending champions the West Indies and Pakistan.

The first semi-final will be in Dhaka on Thursday.

The 2007 champions India take on South Africa in the second semi on Friday, with the final to be played