Sri Lanka smash Black Caps' T20 hopes
New Zealand will slink home from the World Twenty20 tournament, after being slaughtered by Sri Lanka in this morning's winner-take-all Group 1 match.
Victory would've seen the Black Caps qualify top of the group and meet either the West Indies or Pakistan in a semifinal on Friday morning (NZ time).
Instead they're out of the event after being thrashed by 59 runs at Chittagong's Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The Black Caps were bowled out for a pitiful 60 – 42 of which were made by opening batsman Kane Williamson. Without him, this could have been even more humiliating.
Things had looked so good at the change of innings, but New Zealand were utterly inept with the bat.
In the leadup to this game, Williamson had lamented New Zealand's inability to produce a complete performance, particularly with the ball, but after bowling Sri Lanka out for 118, you'd have to say the Black Caps had delivered one, after winning the toss and sending Sri Lanka in.
The pitch was sluggish and Sri Lanka's batsmen struggled to time the ball at almost any stage of the innings.
The early match here, between The Netherlands and England, had been similar, with the English rolled for 88 chasing 134.
On paper, 119 looked a doddle, but the Black Caps still had to go out and get them, and with a history of not quite managing to win when it counts, every run was going to take some scoring.
With the ball, the early indications were that New Zealand would be chasing a few more than 119, as Sri Lanka raced to 20 inside the first two overs.
But when umpire Aleem Dar awarded Trent Boult a dubious leg side catch from Kusal Perera, the rot, astonishingly, set in.
Perera looked hard done by, but there was none of that about the next nine dismissals.
Boult finished with three for 20, James Neesham claimed three for 22 at the death, Mitchell McClenaghan two for 24, with further wickets for Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills.
Captain Brendon McCullum had Ross Taylor stationed at slip till the 17th over, as the New Zealanders went on all-out attack. Dew had been a talking point pre-game and the sole spinner, Nathan McCullum, wasn't called upon until the 13th over.
He normally comes on in the seventh, but this morning took two for eight in two overs and then let the quicks go back to doing the damage.
The catching was good too, bucking the trend for night games in Chittagong during this tournament. There were a couple of blemishes but, by and large, all the genuine chances were taken by the Black Caps.
One of the few drops was from Corey Anderson, who dislocated a finger in the process. He was rushed of the hospital, leaving New Zealand to bat one short.
They soon looked like they'd be in need of him, when Martin Guptill hared off for a single, in the fourth over, and found Williamson wasn't coming.
Eighteen for one, became 18 for two, when Brendon McCullum panicked. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath had come in for Ajantha Mendis, because of concerns about dew, and bowled four dot balls to McCullum, with a short leg and slip for company.
The Kiwi captain charged the fifth and was stumped by metres in a display of lamentable cricket.
Defending 119, Sri Lanka's only hope was bowling New Zealand out. Anderson's absence already meant the Black Caps were one down and here they were gifting the opposition two more.
Taylor was then given out lbw to Herath without scoring and it was 23 for three, which was effectively 23 for four. But not for long. Herath bowled Neesham next ball and it really was 23 for four.
Williamson had made 17 of the 23 runs and must've hardly been able to believe his eyes.
Things only got worse, as Herath extracted appreciable turn from the wearing pitch. He again got a delivery to straighten, which trapped Ronchi in front, making it 29 for five. Halfway through his third over, Herath had the scarcely believable figures of four for one.
This was the sixth game played on this particular strip in the last nine days and it was showing.
News arrived in the press box that Anderson would bat if absolutely necessary, but when Nathan McCullum's dismissal made it 33 for six, there didn't seem any point.
Herath eventually finished with five for three, on an infamous night for New Zealand cricket.