In a tournament dominated generally by spinners, Rangana Herath arrived at the perfect time for Sri Lanka on Monday night. The veteran left-arm spinner produced career-best figures as Sri Lanka stormed into the semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20 after crushing New Zealand by 59 runs in Chittagong. The Lankans, who won the Asia Cup on March 8 in Bangladesh, will play the winners of Pakistan and the West Indies in the first semifinal on Thursday.
The beauty of a teasing line and length proved to be Herath's success formula as New Zealand batsmen crashed one after the other playing horrible strokes. It was New Zealand's third biggest defeat in terms of runs in T20Is, next only to the 103-run defeat to Pakistan at Christchurch on December 30, 2010 and 61-run loss to the West Indies at Lauderhill on July 1, 2012. (Scorecard | Highlights | Points Table)
The Lankans seem to be peaking at the right time. Their 59-run win was their fourth biggest in terms of runs in T20Is and their biggest against New Zealand. More than the batsmen, the spin bowlers will gain enormous confidence from the win.