Jos Buttler took his magnificent T20 World Cup campaign to new heights with his first international century in the shortest format as England made it four wins from four by defeating Sri Lanka.

Buttler's stunning 32-ball 71 lifted England to a dominant victory against Australia on Saturday and he reached another level in Sharjah two days later as one of the tournament favourites further cemented their position at the top of Group 1 to stand on the brink of the semi-finals.

They ultimately prevailed by 26 runs as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 137, a margin of victory that appeared unlikely as England laboured to 36-3 during the powerplay and were 47-3 after 10 overs.

But the ability of Buttler and previously out-of-form captain Eoin Morgan (40) to manage the situation on a tricky pitch turned the game in England's favour, the wicketkeeper-batsman hitting the gas with a devastating display of hitting for a 67-ball 101 that ensured their 163-4 was beyond Sri Lanka despite the best efforts of the excellent Wanindu Hasaranga (34) - who also took 3-21.

Jason Roy (9), Dawid Malan (6) and Jonny Bairstow (0) all failed to get going for England but, having withstood pressure from the Sri Lanka attack, Morgan and Buttler turned the tide emphatically.

Lahiru Kumara (0-44) was Sri Lanka's most expensive bowler and was brutally bludgeoned in a 15th over that went for 22 -  including three sixes - and Sri Lanka never looked like wresting control back thereafter.

Morgan was eventually dismissed as he became Hasaranga's 50th T20I victim, but Buttler could not be denied his hundred, which came off the last ball of the innings with his sixth maximum as a full toss on leg stump was dispatched in style.

Hasaranga's stand of 53 with captain Dasun Shanaka (26) kept Sri Lanka in the hunt but their chances essentially evaporated with some stunning fielding from Roy. 

Roy performed heroics at the long-off boundary to flick the ball to Sam Billings before falling over the rope to dismiss Hasaranga. In fourth place with two points, Sri Lanka's hopes of progress are hanging by a thread, but England can begin to start thinking about the semi-finals.

Buttler's historic innings

Buttler became the fourth English men's batter to score a T20I hundred and, in doing so, joined Heather Knight as only the second England cricketer to record a century in all three international formats.

Morgan leads the way

This was Morgan's 43rd win as captain, the most by a skipper in T20I cricket, taking him past MS Dhoni and Ashgar Afghan. The only blemish for Morgan was a quad injury for fast bowler Tymal Mills.

West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard suffered a muscle injury to his left thigh in the match against Bangladesh and will be assessed ahead of their crucial T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite says the team will be looking to finish the year strong as they prepare to face Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series at Galle next month.

The series, which will take place from November 21 to 25 and November 29 to December 3, will be part of the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship.  In preparation for the series, the West Indies team is currently taking part in the Best vs Best intra-squad matches and Brathwaite insists the team is brimming with confidence and ready for the challenge.

“Sri Lanka is a very strong team, especially at home and as a team, we are looking forward to the challenge,” Brathwaite said.

“We know it won’t be easy.  The last time we went down there we did ok, it was a couple of years ago and we look forward to the challenge,” he added.

The team last travelled to Sri Lanka in 2016 where they lost 2-0.  Brathwaite did, however, claim six wickets.

“I think we have had a good year so far and it would be good to finish the season strong for the fans.”

The West Indies began the year with a win over Bangladesh, followed by a draw against Sri Lanka, a loss to South Africa, and a draw against Pakistan.

David Miller and Kagiso Rabada blasted South Africa to a dramatic four-wicket T20 World Cup win over Sri Lanka after Wanindu Hasaranga took a hat-trick at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

The Proteas welcomed Quinton de Kock back into the side after he missed the win over West Indies on Tuesday following Cricket South Africa's decision that all Proteas players must take a knee prior to the remainder of their games in the tournament.

De Kock took the knee on Saturday in a united stance against racism before Sri Lanka were bowled out for 142 from their 20 overs in a Group 1 contest neither side could really afford to lose.

Pathum Nissanka made 72 off 58 balls, with the brilliant Tabraiz Shamsi and Dwaine Pretorius taking 3-17, while Anrich Nortje also impressed with figures of 2-27.

A fourth-wicket stand of 47 between captain Temba Bavuma (46) and Aiden Markram made it advantage South Africa, but Hasaranga (3-20) gave Sri Lanka the upper hand.

The spinner bowled Markram with the final ball of the 15th over and returned to dismiss Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius at the start of the 18th – reducing the Proteas to 112-6 and completing his hat-trick.

South Africa needed 15 to win off the final over from Lahiru Kumara after Rabada had dispatched Dushmantha Chameera for a huge six and they got home with a ball to spare after Miller launched two maximums into the leg side.

The Proteas are on four points with two wins from three matches, while Sri Lanka are unlikely to qualify following their second loss.

 

Shamsi shows why he's number one

Shamsi showed how he has become the top-ranked T20 bowler in the world, dismissing Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Avishka Fernando caught and bowled as Sri Lanka lost wickets far too frequently.

The spinner, who has the most T20I wickets this year with 32 at an average of 13.62, bowled 13 dot balls and only conceded one boundary, also getting Hasaranga caught in the deep.

Pretorius and Nortje bowled superbly at the death, with only Nissanka ensuring Sri Lanka were able to make a significant total after clearing the rope three times and hitting six fours.

Miller time after Hasaranga heroics

The Proteas were in trouble on 26-2 after Chameera trapped Reeza Hendricks lbw before taking a catch off his own bowling to remove De Kock (12)

Bavuma led the recovery with a composed knock, but the craft of Hasaranga swung the game in Sri Lanka's favour.

Rabada flexed his muscles with a huge six off the penultimate over and struck a four to win over the powerful Miller middled two full deliveries from Kumara out of the ground.

Quinton de Kock took the knee before making his South Africa return in the T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

De Kock issued an apology after deciding against playing in the win over West Indies at Dubai International Stadium.

The wicketkeeper-batsman ruled himself out of that match following Cricket South Africa's decision that all Proteas must take a knee prior to the remainder of their games in the tournament.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture, but stated on Thursday he would take the knee and was "deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger" he had caused.

The 28-year-old said he was deeply hurt by being called a racist because of a misunderstanding.

De Kock was back in the team for the Group 1 showdown with Sri Lanka at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, replacing Heinrich Klaasen.

The former Proteas captain joined his team-mates by making the anti-racism gesture of taking the knee after Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to field.

David Warner returned to form with a blistering half-century after Adam Zampa put Sri Lanka in a spin as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket T20 World Cup win.

Warner's place in the side had been called into question due to a lack of runs, but the opener silenced his critics a day after his 35th birthday as Australia made it two wins out two in the Super 12 stage.

Sri Lanka posted 154-6 after Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to field at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday, Kusal Perera and Charith Asalanka making 35 apiece before Bhanuka Rajapaksa added an unbeaten 33.

Spinner Zampa flummoxed the Sri Lanka batters, taking 2-12 from his four overs, while Mitchell Starc (2-27) and Pat Cummins (2-34) also did damage.

Josh Hazlewood played a big part with the ball once again without reward and Australia made light work of chasing down their target.

Warner was dropped on 18 but made 65 from 42 balls, and he and captain Finch (37 from 23) laid the platform with an explosive opening stand of 70 from only 6.5 overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga took 2-22, but Australia eased to their target with three overs to spare to join leaders England on four points in Group 1, Steve Smith making 28 not out and Marcus Stoinis unbeaten on 16.

 Zampa bamboozles Sri Lanka after promising start

Sri Lanka were going along nicely at 53-1 at the end of the powerplay, but they lost their way after the excellent Zampa had Asalanka caught on the sweep by Smith.

The guile of Zampa also saw the back of Avishka Fernando after Starc cleaned up Kusal with a searing yorker, as Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 16 runs.

Rajapaksa added some much-needed late runs, with Stoinis expensive, but Australia were left with a smaller chase than they might have been expecting.

 

Warner grateful for late Kusal gift

Warner had been dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and came into this game having scored only 17 runs in his previous five innings.

His frustrating spell would have continued if Kusal had not put down a simple catch behind the stumps and the powerful left-hander made him pay, hitting 10 fours to set his side well on their way to victory.

Finch was also due some runs and looked in ominous touch – bad news for Australia's rivals – as he cleared the rope twice before playing on to Hasaranga.

Charith Asalanka starred and Bhanuka Rajapaksa celebrated his birthday with a half-century as Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by five wickets in the T20 World Cup.

Mohammad Naim (62 off 52 balls) and Mushfiqur Rahim (57 not out from 37) got the Tigers up to 171-4 after they were put in the battle of the qualifiers at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Sri Lanka were in trouble on 79-4 when Wanindu Hasaranga fell after Shakib Al Hasan (2-17) dismissed Pathum Nissanka and Avishka Fernando in the ninth over.

Asalanka and Rajapaksa came to the rescue with a fifth-wicket stand of 86, setting up a victory in their opening Super 12 game that was sealed with seven balls to spare.

Opener Asalanka returned to form with a brilliant unbeaten 80 from 49 balls, while Rajapaksa benefited from two gifts from Liton Das on his 30th birthday.

The left-hander from Colombo was dropped twice by Das and capitalised on those let-offs by scoring 53 off 31 balls before departing in the penultimate over.

Sri Lanka's highest successful run chase moved them level on points with leaders England and Australia in Group 1, also halting a run of three consecutive T20 defeats against the Tigers.

 

TIgers batsmen Naim and Mushfiqur show their teeth

Naim and Mushfiqur played superbly to get the Tigers up to a good total after they were 56-2 in the eighth over when the dangerous Shakib departed, having been cleaned up by Chamika Karunaratne (1-12) for only 10.

Opener Naim brought up his fourth T20I half-century – and a second of the tournament – off 44 balls, finding the rope six times before he was caught and bowled by Binura Fernando. Mushfiqur struck two sixes in an enterprising, classy knock as he brought out his full repertoire of strokes.

Asalanka steps up, Rajapaksa grateful for Das gifts

Sri Lanka had been going along well on 54-1 at the end of the powerplay, but there was work to do when the Rajapaksa joined Asalanka at the crease.

Das spilled the birthday boy in the deep when he was on 14 and then 23 as Bangladesh felt the heat. Asalanka never looked troubled in his maiden T20I half-century, hitting five sixes and as many fours, with Rajapaksa clearing the rope three times in an impressive run chase.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel announced the squads for the upcoming Best v Best men’s red-ball matches.

The panel named 24 players for two three-day fixtures, which will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on October 27-29 and November 1-3. The two teams will be led by Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood.

The players will use these matches as preparations ahead of West Indies’ forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka for two Test matches following the ICC T20 World Cup. The team will depart from Antigua on November 6 and the tour will run until December 4. The full tour squad and schedule will be announced at a later date. The series is the second of six series, three at home and three away, that West Indies will play in the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship after drawing the first Betway Test Series against Pakistan in August.

 “These Best v Best matches are a critical part of the Test team’s preparation for the series in Sri Lanka. For a number of players, it will be the only serious red ball cricket they will have since the Betway Test series against Pakistan and prior to going on this tour. So, it helps to get them back into the groove of the red-ball format and gives the Selection Panel an indication of the players’ readiness for the tour,” said Lead Selector Roger Harper.

SQUAD A: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Jayden Seales, Preston McSween, Nial Smith and Jeremy Solozano.

 SQUAD B: Jermaine Blackwood (Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Imran Khan, Shayne Moseley, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican.

Gerhard Erasmus and David Wiese saw Namibia over the line in an historic eight-wicket win over Ireland that sent the African nation into the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup for the first time.

Set a target of 126 to win in Sharjah, Namibia ensured an automatic place at the next T20 World Cup in Australia with an emphatic victory and eliminated Ireland.

Captain Erasmus top-scored with 53 not out, while Wiese made 28 from 14 deliveries tot propelled the minnows, who only attained ODI status in 2019, through with nine balls to spare.

"It's a dream that's come true. These players were six and seven-year-old boys, dreaming of playing against teams like India and Pakistan. That dream has come true," Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn said.

"All they had in the last few years was to watch these guys on TV and dream about it. They will wake up knowing it's real. I am just so pleased for them. I don't think people really know how limited we are. We are not a cricket organisation with a luxury of great resources."

Jan Frylinck took 3-21 and Wiese claimed 2-22 as Ireland collapsed from 94-2 to 125-8 after Paul Stirling had smashed 38 off 24 balls.

Namibia will be in Group 2 of the Super 12s along with India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Scotland.

In Friday's other match, already-qualified Sri Lanka made light work of the Netherlands in an eight-wicket thrashing

Sri Lanka beat the Netherlands by nine wickets in their only previous T20I meeting, en route to winning the 2014 World Cup, and they skittled the European nation out for 44 in just 10 overs.

The Dutch had no answer to Lahiru Kumara (3-7) and Wanindu Hasaranga (3-9) and Maheesh Theekshana (2-3) before they cruised to victory in only 7.1 overs, Kusal Perera making 33 not out.

The Super 12s get under way on Saturday, with Australia facing South Africa and England taking on reigning champions West Indies.

Sri Lanka are through to the T20 World Cup Super 12 after a dominant 70-run win over Ireland.

Wanindu Hasaranga's 47-ball 71, along with 61 from Pathum Nissanka, which came from the same amount of deliveries, propelled the 2014 winners to 171-7.

The 172 target proved well beyond Ireland, who were dismissed for 101 with nine balls left, Hasaranga also taking a wicket and bowling a team-high 14 dot balls in a Man of the Match display.

It means Sri Lanka can top Group A with a win over the Netherlands, whose hopes came to an end with defeat to Namibia.

Max O'Dowd hit a 56-ball 70 for Netherlands as they posted 164-4, however, David Wiese's unbeaten 66 ensured Namibia got over the line for a six-wicket win with six balls left.

England are among the tournament favourites and they underlined that status with a 13-run warm-up win over New Zealand in which Jos Buttler delivered a scarcely needed reminder of his class by hitting 11 fours and two maximums for his 73.

Mark Wood (4-23) and Adil Rashid (3-18) impressed with the ball for England, who were runners-up in 2016 to West Indies.

The Windies seemingly have work to do ahead of the Super 12 after a 56-run defeat to Afghanistan, who saw Hazratullah Zazai (56) and Mohammad Shahzad (54) hit half-centuries.

Rassie van der Dussen, meanwhile, looks in ominous form for South Africa, his 51-ball 101 comprising of 10 fours and four maximums as South Africa saw off Pakistan by six wickets.

Sri Lanka eased to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their opening match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.

Namibia were dismissed for just 96 runs after being put into bat first, and Sri Lanka ultimately eclipsed that total as early as the 14th over.

Maheesh Theekshana was a key part of the Sri Lanka attack, taking Stephan Baard on his first delivery, before also claiming the scalps of Zane Green and Jan Frylinck, ending the day at 3-25.

Craig Williams (29) was the only Namibian to get more than 20, though his haul was hardly emphatic given it came off 36 balls and included just two boundaries.

Sri Lanka's innings did not start particularly impressively given they were 26-3 after the first ball of the sixth over, but Avishka Fernando (30 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42 not out) had a steadying impact as they got them over the line at 100-3.

The day's early Group A match saw Ireland win in similarly comprehensive fashion against the Netherlands, with the bowlers again having the decisive impact during a seven-wicket victory.

Curtis Campher (4-26) incredibly took all four of his wickets in succession to leave the Dutch in disarray, becoming only the third man after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan to achieve the feat in a T20I, while Mark Adair was even more efficient with figures of 3-9 in his four overs.

Like Campher, Adair's treble came in a row and right at the end as the Netherlands could only set a target of 106.

Paul Stirling (30 not out) kept things ticking over throughout with a professional – if unspectacular – knock, but Gareth Delany (44) top scored for the Irish. By the time he was eventually stopped by Pieter Seelaar's yorker, Ireland only needed another 12 runs.

Elsewhere, several of the tournament favourites were in action in warm-up matches. India beat England by seven wickets with six balls remaining partly down to swift 50s by KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, while Australia's 159-7 saw them defeat New Zealand with one ball left.

South Africa enjoyed a comfortable 41-run win over Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in a little over 15 overs.

Quinton de Kock blasted an unbeaten 59 as South Africa sealed a T20I series whitewash over Sri Lanka with a 10-wicket win on Tuesday.

The Proteas, who clinched the series victory on Sunday, completed another routine win after the hosts limped to a run-a-ball 120-8, with Kagiso Rabada and Bjorn Fortuin taking two wickets apiece.

De Kock, who top-scored with 58 not out against in the previous game, was ably supported by Reeza Hendricks (56 not out) as the pair sealed victory inside 15 overs.

Sri Lanka opening batsmen Kusal Perera offered the most resistance, making 39, but when he was dismissed by Keshav Maharaj with the score at 80-5, the hosts failed to reach an imposing total once more.

Chamika Karunaratne managed an unbeaten 24 – his highest score in the format – but with De Kock and Hendricks racing to 46 without loss after the powerplay, another victory for the tourists was all but confirmed.

De Kock reached his 11th T20I fifty, and fifth for the year, off 40 balls and Hendricks followed suit, recording his sixth T20I half-century in two balls fewer as Maharaj's side triumphed with 32 balls remaining.

Miserly Maharaj

De Kock will steal the headlines with more top-order fireworks, but captain Maharaj should take credit as well as he continues to improve ahead of the spinning surfaces that await him at the T20 World Cup.

The left-armer assumed the captaincy role for his first ever T20I series and, in the final match, bowled a game-high 12 dot balls as he conceded just 14 runs from his full allocation, including the wicket of Perera.

Persistent Perera

Perera scored a third of his team's runs in the second T20I as he made 30 off 25 balls and he almost repeated the feat on Tuesday with his highest score of 2021.

However, the opener was not supported by his team-mates, with only Karunaratne and Dasun Shanaka (18) troubling the opposition bowlers, who dominated once more in Colombo.

Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The death bowling specialist had already retired from Test cricket in 2011 and subsequently from 50-over internationals in 2019 as well, but the 38-year-old has now confirmed he will no longer play T20Is either.

The paceman, who took 546 wickets across all formats for his country, captained his side to the T20 World Cup title in 2014 and flourished in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Mumbai Indians.

Malinga, who is the only player to take three ODI hat-tricks, managed 107 wickets in 84 internationals in the T20I format and his last appearance for Sri Lanka came against West Indies in March 2020.

"I've had many experiences throughout my career, and I want to share all of my experience in the future, especially with young cricketers," said Malinga in a post on Twitter.

He added on his YouTube channel: "I will be continuously supporting the younger generations who strive to uplift the spirit of the game and I will always be there with all who love the game.

"I want to thank each and everyone who supported me throughout my T20 journey. I want to thank the Sri Lankan cricket board and team members. And Mumbai Indians cricket team, especially the team owners and officials."

Quinton de Kock hit an unbeaten 58 as South Africa clinched the T20I series against Sri Lanka with a nine-wicket thumping on Sunday.

The Proteas, who won Friday's opener in the series by 28 runs, were hardly tested by their flat opponents, who managed just 103 in 18.1 overs. That was their lowest first-innings total at home in this short format.

South Africa wasted little time chasing that figure down, De Kock helping them open up a 2-0 series lead inside 15 overs.

Sri Lanka had little answer to South Africa's spinners – Bjorn Fortuin, Aiden Markram, captain Keshav Maharai and Tabraiz Shamsi – who took nine wickets and conceded just 63 runs in their 14.1 overs.

Markram finished with a career-best three for 21, which included the wicket of opener Kusal Perera for 30.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka's next highest scorer with 20 as the hosts lost seven for a paltry 32 runs between the 10th and 19th overs.

Sri Lanka failed to get rid of De Kock with a review following the fourth delivery of South Africa's innings and the 28-year-old did not look back.

He brought up his 10th T20I fifty, and fourth of the year, after his opening stand with Reeza Hendricks was broken in the ninth over when Hendricks was caught by Dinesh Chandimal off the bowling of Wanindu Hasaranga.

Markram added an unbeaten 21 as South Africa reached their target with almost seven overs to spare.

De Kock proves his importance

De Kock was rested for the ODI series, which Sri Lanka won 2-1, and he showed his worth here. He steered his side to victory with an unbeaten 58 off 48 deliveries and will be a key figure if South Africa are to challenge for the T20 World Cup, which begins next month.

Perera not backed up by team-mates

Perera got Sri Lanka off to a solid start with 30 from 25 balls, but his team-mates failed miserably to capitalise. The 31-year-old, making his comeback after recovering from COVID-19, hit a third of his side's runs, with only three others reaching double figures.

South Africa put the disappointment of losing the ODI series behind them as they eased to a 28-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening T20I on Friday.

Led by Aiden Markram's excellent 48 from 33 balls, the Proteas were on dominant form in Colombo, successfully defending their 163-5 total.

Making his T20I debut, South Africa captain Keshav Maharaj won the toss and chose to bat, with his openers swiftly proving that decision correct.

Quinton de Kock (36) set the tone with a boundary off the second ball and Reeza Hendricks soon skittled off 12 runs in the space of three deliveries to get South Africa up and running.

Both openers had moved into the 30s by the ninth over, though De Kock was the first to fall when he sliced a sweep to deep midwicket.

Wanindu Hasaranga picked up his and Sri Lanka's second wicket in his next over, dismissing Hendricks for 38, but Markram – with support from David Miller (26) – put South Africa back on the front foot.

Markram fell just short of a half-century in the penultimate over, though the damage was done as South Africa set a challenging target of 164.

Sri Lanka started their chase confidently, and had 34 runs in the bank by the time Avishka Fernando succumbed in the sixth over.

Yet Maharaj's first ball in a T20I brought up the Proteas' second wicket – Bhanuka Rajapaksa going for a duck – and the hosts failed to keep up the run rate.

That was despite the best efforts of Dinesh Chandimal, who top-scored with 66 not out, but Chamika Karunaratne (22no) was his only team-mate to make it above 20 as Sri Lanka were limited to 135-6.

Memorable debut for Maharaj

Installed as captain on his maiden T20I appearance, the spinner took a wicket with his very first ball, after South Africa's batsmen had shown just why the 31-year-old was right to bat first.

Maharaj has plenty of international experience, with 36 Tests and 14 ODIs under his belt, and in total he has now taken 149 wickets for his country.

Chandimal cannot carry Sri Lanka

It was a valiant effort from Chandimal, whose unbeaten 66 included five fours and two sixes. However, he did not have the necessary support from the rest of Sri Lanka's batsmen, with two going for ducks and Dhananjaya de Silva only scoring one.

Chandimal did bring up his highest score in his T20I career, though, with the wicketkeeper's previous best having been 58, a score he made twice in 2016, against Pakistan and Australia.

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