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Day 16 Talking Points: Buttler dominates, spin king reclaims record

England have one foot in the semi-finals of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup after they made it four wins out of four with a 26-run victory over Sri Lanka in Sharjah. Here are the Talking Points from the game.


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Match Highlights: England v Sri Lanka

The Boss Buttler Show

Jos Buttler's terrific form with the bat continued as he smashed a sensational century to help England reach 163 in 20 overs.

On a tough pitch for run-scoring, it was a lesson in how to pace your innings. With wickets falling around him in the Powerplay, Buttler was forced to go into a shell and had to grind to keep the scoreboard ticking.

At the halfway stage of the innings, England were 47/3 while Buttler's individual score was 26 off 30.

But once he and Morgan had steadied England's ship, Buttler switched through the gears, launching an attack on Chamika Karunaratne with a four and a six. After getting to his fifty in 45 balls, the slowest T20I fifty of his career, he put on a show with the bat for the Sharjah crowd, getting to his century in just 22 more balls with a six off the last delivery of the innings.

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Buttler blasts tournament's first century | T20 World Cup

The 101* in 67 balls puts Jos Buttler on top of the run-scoring charts for the World Cup, including Round 1 runs, even though this was the first time England have had to bat all 20 overs.

During his career-best T20I knock, Buttler also went past 1000 runs as a T20 opener for England.

Ever since he was promoted permanently in July 2018, he has been a revelation as an opener. He has averaged 60.5 at a strike rate of 149.17 at the top, a stark contrast to his numbers in the middle order where he struck at 23.71 and 133.3.

Hasaranga's sensational spell

In case anyone needed reminding, Wanindu Hasaranga once again showed why he is ranked second in the ICC Men's Rankings for bowlers. 

While the rest of the Sri Lankan bowlers, bar Maheesh Theekshana, went for over eight runs an over, Hasaranga finished the match with figures of 3/21 despite bowling the difficult overs in the Powerplay and the death.

He got the crucial breakthrough early on in just the second over, rattling Jason Roy's stumps after outfoxing him with a googly. And he came back into the attack to bowl the last over of the Powerplay, trapping Jonny Bairstow in front of the stumps.

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Sri Lanka bowlers dominate Powerplay

And after an over in the middle, he was tasked with the responsibility of bowling the 19th over, bamboozling the England captain with another googly, bringing an end to the 112-run stand between Morgan and Butter.

With the three-wicket haul, Hasaranga became the highest wicket-taker in Men's T20I in the calendar year with 34 wickets, going past Tabraiz Shami's 32. The duo have each broken the record for the most men's T20I wickets in a year, going past Andrew Tye's 2018 record of 31. 

Hasaranga had moved to a share of the record with Tye and Uganda's Dinesh Nakrani before Shamsi claimed it outright in South Africa's last game.

Two moments of brilliance derail Sri Lanka's chase

After a magnificent spell with the ball, Hasaranga, along with Shanaka, threatened to take the game away from England. 76/5 at one point, the partnership between Hasaranga and Shanaka brought it down to 41 off the last four.

Though the equation was slightly in favour of England, the injury to Tymal Mills which forced him off the field meant that England were a bowler short and Eoin Morgan had to marshall his bowlers perfectly. The conditions too weren't helpful either, with the bowlers struggling to grip the ball with lots of dew around.

In such a scenario, England needed something special to stop Sri Lanka's charge and it ultimately came in the form of two moments of brilliance in the field.

Liam Livingstone, bowling the 17th over of the innings, was under pressure after Hasaranga smashed him for a four. The next ball, Hasaranga danced down the track and took the aerial route over cover and it looked like he would clear the boundary.

However, Jason Roy boulted to his left from long-off, gobbled it up and, just before he hit the boundary, relayed it to substitute Sam Billings who held on to bring an end to Hasaranga's innings. 

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England's stunning relay catch

Three balls later, Jos Butter, almost poetically, sealed the game for England with a wonderful run-out to dismiss the other set batter, Dasun Shanaka. 

Cramped for room by Jordan, Shanaka could only tap the ball to the third slip region. Shanaka, trying to steal a single, was rightfully sent back by Karunaratne and was caught well short of the crease. Buttler made no mistake and hit the target.

With the skipper gone, the rest of the batting folded in the next over and half, as England made it four wins out of four to consolidate their position at the top of Group 1.