New Zealand batsman Glenn Phillips has turned in arguably the batting performance of the T20 World Cup so far, to rescue the Kiwis from serious danger against Sri Lanka on Saturday night.
In dire straights after losing three wickets in the powerplay, Phillips strode to the crease with the Kiwis at 3/15 and plenty of work in front of him.
Phillips' barnstorming knock of 104 from 64 deliveries practically single-handedly revived their innings, pairing up with Daryl Mitchell for a crucial 84-run partnership.
Their fourth-wicket stand might not have been had Phillips not been dropped at long-off by Pathum Nissanka on 12 - but he made the most of his second chance.
Phillips, Mitchell and Mitchell Santner (11) were the only players to reach double figures for New Zealand, yet their total of 167 was still too much for Sri Lanka.
A similarly disastrous powerplay for Sri Lanka left them at 4/8 after some brilliant bowling from Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa (34) and skipper Dasun Shanak (35) were the only players to make an impact with the bat for Sri Lanka, with the Kiwis ultimately claiming a 65-run victory.
Fans were seriously impressed on social media by Phillips' swashbuckling performance.
Glenn Phillips said "It's my responsibility to make sure that I am in the crease & leave at the right time".
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) October 29, 2022
Just charted the whole NZ innings v SL. Though the sprinters block crouching start in the final over got plenty of attention, Glenn Phillips is an Eagle scout. Perfect 45/45 in terms of staying in his crease at the non-striker's end until the ball is released. pic.twitter.com/3RJ34kf1Yu
— Peter Della Penna (@PeterDellaPenna) October 29, 2022
Glenn Phillips 104 defeated Sri Lanka 102 by 2 runs.#T20WorldCup
— CricBlog ✍ (@cric_blog) October 29, 2022
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) October 29, 2022
#GlennPhillips provides the lightening and #Boult provides the thunder! NZ defeat SL and therefore Aus and Eng will breathe easier and SL are now dependent on various other combinations of results#SLvsNZ #T20WorldCup
— Sandeep Kumar Boddapati (@sandeepskb128) October 29, 2022
Phillips had to be subbed off the field in the 14th over of Sri Lanka's run chase after getting serious cramps in his legs, much to the amusement of commentator Michael Clarke.
"He's gone, got the wobbly boot!" Clarke pointed out with a laugh.
"Normally when you go double hamstring, then you go to stretch them and you go in the quad, as well. Oh, there he goes."
Phillips said the weather playing havoc with each pitch and outfield was proving challenging.
“I think momentum in tournaments like this is absolutely crucial,” he said/
“We’re treating every game with that respect and trying to do the best we can with any given situation - with any pitch we’re shown or whether the weather plays a part as well.”
Australia to ignore net run-rate concerns at T20 World Cup
Seize the blood in the water moments, then win, then worry about net run rate - that's the formula for Australia ahead of their two remaining T20 World Cup group games.
Friday night's washout against England at the MCG leaves Australia fourth in group one with a negative run rate, but they will start strong favourites in games against Ireland and Afghanistan.
It is a similar scenario to last year, when Australia had big wins over Bangladesh and West Indies to reach the semi-finals on the way to claiming the title.
Star Australian allrounder Glenn Maxwell says the key is not to put the cart before the horse.
"You have to get into a position where you can win the game. If you go into the game thinking about net run rate, it can make it really difficult," he said.
"You'll shoot yourself in the foot, really."
Australia will play Ireland at the Gabba next Monday and then Afghanistan on Friday at Adelaide Oval.
After New Zealand bludgeoned them at the start of the tournament, the hosts kept their title defence alive last week, with Marcus Stoinis starring in the strong win over Sri Lanka.
The England washout did not cruel Australia's hopes of reaching the semis, but left them with no margin for error.
Maxwell noted the Australian squad boasts nearly 3000 games of T20 experience and said that is a major advantage.
"That experience in T20 cricket certainly helps, especially in this sort of tournament where the smallest mistakes can get highlighted. You make one mistake and you're out of the tournament," he said.
He pointed to Stoinis's blistering innings - the fastest T20 half-century by an Australian - that guaranteed them the win over Sri Lanka.
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