Boult’s riveting spell spurs New Zealand’s five-wicket win over SL, keeps semifinal hopes alive


Trent Boult’s rediscovery of his magic with new ball fuelled New Zealand’s frantic five-wicket victory over a wretched Sri Lanka and kept their World Cup semifinals dreams intact here on Thursday.
Daryl Mitchell (43 off 31 balls) milked the sound platform given by openers Devon Conway (45 off 42 balls) and Rachin Ravindra (42 off 34 balls) with their 86-run stand as the Kiwis hunted down the target of 172 in 23.2 overs.
The result helped them to snap a four-match losing streak in the event, and it was also the perfect culmination of the demolition job started by Boult with his outstanding three-wicket burst (3/37).
New Zealand (NRR: +0.743) have 10 points after their league engagements and they will in all likelihood join India, Australia and South Africa in the last four stage, unless Pakistan or Afghanistan, who are on eight points apiece, create some miracle.
In their final league match, Pakistan (NRR: +0.036) will face England on Saturday while Afghanistan (NRR: -0.338) will lock horns with South Africa tomorrow.
In the backdrop of all those calculations, it was important for the Kiwis to win handsomely to stay ahead of the other contenders, and both Conway and Ravindra were aware of it.
They exploited the struggles of Lankan bowlers to find the right line quite mercilessly.
Pacer Dushmantha Chameera occasionally managed to purchase some lift off the pitch but there was nothing really unnegotiable. Ravindra proved that with a six off Chameera himself and a couple of other maximums of spinner De Silva.
However, Conway would repent missing a fifty that was there for the taking after a little shimmy and whack off Chameera ended in the hands of De Silva inside the circle.
Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 171 in 46.4 overs (Kusal Perera 51; Trent Boult 3/37, Mitchell Santner 2/22) vs New Zealand. (PTI)

South Africa Vs Afghanistan at Ahmedabad (2.00 pm)