Finch, Starc shine as Australia beat Sri Lanka in World Cup

Australia’s captain Aaron Finch hit a career-best 153 in spearheading his team to 334-7 against Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday. (AP)
Updated 15 June 2019

Finch, Starc shine as Australia beat Sri Lanka in World Cup

  • Defending champions record their fourth win of tournament at the Oval encounter

LONDON: Australia captain Aaron Finch and pace bowler Mitchell Starc stole the show as the holders eased to an 87-run win over Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday.

Finch equalled his career-best one-day international score with a masterful 153 and Steve Smith chipped in with 73 as Australia scored 334-7.

Needing a World Cup record run-chase to claim a shock win, Sri Lanka got off to a flying start thanks to a first-wicket partnership of 115 between captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera.

But Perera departed for 52 and when Karunaratne fell on 97 the game swung back in Australia’s direction.

Starc was the catalyst with a fiery spell of three wickets in six balls, Australia eventually dismissing Sri Lanka for 247 thanks in large part to his 4-55 from 10 overs.

Kane Williamson added three wickets of his own as Australia made it four wins from their five group matches after previously beating Afghanistan, the West Indies and Pakistan.

Their lone defeat in the 10-team tournament came against India and their latest victory puts them well on course for a semifinal berth.

Sri Lanka, who lost their last seven wickets for 42 runs, have only one win from their five matches, a disappointing run that includes two washouts.

They face a struggle to reach the semifinals with only four matches left, a spell that features encounters with title contenders England and India.

Sri Lanka had briefly looked capable of surpassing the World Cup chase set by Ireland, who made 329-7 to beat England in 2011.

Karunaratne and his opening partner Perera blasted 24 from the first two overs and reached their fifty partnership in just the seventh over.

But Starc bowled Perera and Jason Behrendorff dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne for 16 as Australia hit back.

A six from Kusal Mendis in the 31st over signalled Sri Lanka’s intent to get cracking.

But crucially Karunaratne stumbled short of his maiden World Cup century when he carelessly flicked Richardson to Glenn Maxwell at backward point.

That left Sri Lanka 186-3 and set the stage for Starc to turn the screw by dismissing Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera and Mendis in quick succession.

Mendis’s mistimed drive off Starc reduced Sri Lanka to 222-7 and shattered their resistance.

Earlier, Finch took the Sri Lanka attack apart with a dazzling display that included 15 fours and five sixes.

He was well-supported by Smith’s 73 from 59 balls and the pair put on 173 runs for the third wicket.

Together with opening partner David Warner, Finch took the attack to the Sri Lankans after being put in to bat under cloudy skies in south London.

The pair passed 50 for the opening wicket for the fourth time in five games at the World Cup.

Sri Lanka had no answer to Finch’s brutal assault and by the time he departed, caught by Karunaratne off Isuru Udana, he had put Australia in a commanding position.

Maxwell’s quick-fire 46 from 25 balls rubbed salt into Sri Lanka’s wounds.


Trio of Saudi golf stars to compete with world’s best at 2020 Saudi International

Updated 28 January 2020

Trio of Saudi golf stars to compete with world’s best at 2020 Saudi International

  • Saudi pro Othman Almulla and National Golf Team members Saud Alsharif and Faisal Salhab will feature alongside the sport’s biggest names
  • Saudi International offers both a massive opportunity and a challenge for the talented trio

RIYADH: Saudi’s leading golfers, professional Othman Almulla and National Golf Team members, amateurs, Saud Alsharif and Faisal Salhab will carry the hopes of their nation as they proudly represent the Kingdom, in this week’s Saudi International, powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.

The second annual edition of Saudi Arabia’s only professional tournament, a European Tour event held at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City – from January 30th through February 2nd, offers both a massive opportunity and challenge to the talented trio, as golf continues to emerge a new sporting force in the Kingdom.

Calm and relaxed ahead of one the biggest weeks in their sporting lives, all three golfers addressed global, regional and local media with confidence, only focusing on the positives for the coming days as they prepare to compete against the very best in the world, including American world number 1, Brooks Koepka and world number 5, Dustin Johnson.