BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP)—Cameron White smashed an unbeaten 85 off 49 balls before Australia’s bowlers destroyed Sri Lanka’s batting line-up to set up an 81-run victory in a Super Eights match at the World Twenty20 at Kensington Oval on Sunday.
White orchestrated Australia’s recovery from a perilous 67-5 to a challenging 168-5 off 20 overs.
The right-hander lashed six fours and six sixes and shared a brilliant partnership of 101 off nine overs with Michael Hussey.
Left-hander Hussey compiled an unbeaten 39 off 26 balls with four fours and a six.
Suraj Randiv claimed 3-20 with his off-spin while medium-pacer Angelo Mathews picked up 2-24.
Sri Lanka’s run chase petered out early, dismissed for 87 off 16.2 overs.
Dirk Nannes (2-19) inflicted the early damage, removing experienced openers Mahela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya.
Fellow left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson claimed 3-15 while leg-spinner Steve Smith collected 2-12.
The victory was Australia’s second in a row in the Super Eight stage and all but sealed it a spot in the semi-finals.
Asked to field first, Sri Lanka dominated the early exchanges as Mathews and Randiv ripped apart Australia’s top order.
Shane Watson dragged on from Mathews, who also claimed Brad Haddin to a catch at long-off.
Randiv had the dangerous David Warner caught at slip and David Hussey caught behind with successive deliveries.
Randiv also bowled captain Michael Clarke to leave the Australian innings in tatters.
Randiv could also have removed White for 24 but Ajantha Mendis dropped a chance at short fine leg.
It proved a costly miss as White helped Australia amass 90 runs off its final seven overs.
Sri Lanka’s innings unravelled swiftly once Nannes claimed the wicket of the tournament’s leading run-scorer Mahela Jayawardene in the third over.
Jayawardene, after scores of 81, 100 and 98 not out in previous innings, miscued a pull to fine leg.
The short ball also accounted for captain Kumar Sangakkara, who top-edged a pull to the wicket-keeper off Shaun Tait.
Nannes then trapped Jayasuriya plumb in front playing across the line.
Tillakaratne Dilshan top-scored with 20 off 12 balls but his resistance was brief.