David Warner's brutal message to critics in epic World Cup display

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Seen here, David Warner salutes teammates after his half century against Sri Lanka.
David Warner returned to form with a solid half century against Sri Lanka. Pic: Getty

David Warner has delivered a telling response to critics with a timely half century to help propel Australia to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup.

Warner's form in 2021 had been one of the big talking points going into Australia's second group match, with question marks consistently arising about his spot at the top of the Aussie batting order.

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A known performer in World Cups, Warner entered the tournament with just three runs and 14 balls to his name in the last four months.

But after a poor IPL and a 14 against South Africa in the tournament opener, he looked back in his normal touch against Sri Lanka.

After Adam Zampa's 2-12 kept Sri Lanka to 6-154, Warner's 42-ball 65 helped Australia cruise to victory with three overs to spare.

Warner, who was dropped from his IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad last month after two bad games, smashed 10 fours in his 42-ball knock as Australia achieved their target of 155 with 18 balls to spare in Dubai.

It put Australia in the box seat to advance to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012, with two wins likely enough from games against England, West Indies and Bangladesh.

As is often the way in cricket, Warner's return to form didn't come without a big slice of luck, with the batsman giving a massive reprieve on 18 after a shocking dropped catch from Sri Lanka wicketkeeper, Kusal Perera.

However, the 35-year-old said he was delighted to get some runs and time out in the middle, ahead of Australia's next-up blockbuster against England on Sunday morning (AEDT).

"Tonight, obviously, I had to start afresh. Everyone was talking about my form, but that's not the thing I am worried about," Warner told reporters.

"People who criticise me know exactly what I am about."

He added: "That's the world of sport, when you ride the highs, you ride the lows. Stay confident, keep a smile on your face and never let it get to you."

Australia's David Warner (R) bump fists with teammate Steven Smith during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 28, 2021. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
Australia's David Warner (R) bump fists with teammate Steven Smith during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 28, 2021. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The left-hander was busy throughout on Thursday night in Dubai, facing just nine dots and hitting 10 boundaries as he was particularly strong square of the wicket.

After regaining his rhythm by training on polished concrete wickets, Warner said it was a much-needed tune-up for the clash with old rivals, England.

David Warner delighted to spend time at crease

"It was great to get out there in the middle, spend some time there running between wickets ... and getting cricket cues," Warner said.

"Little things like that just keeps your mind ticking for when you when you're in those pressure situations.

"In the last sort of six-to-12 months we haven't played that much cricket so I haven't been in those situations too often."

Sri Lanka were also left to rue the worst drop of the tournament, with Perera grassing the simplest of chances when Warner gloved one through on 18.

It summed up a horror night for the Sri Lankans, who fielded poorly, struggled to find their length and at one stage had a Dushmantha Chamerra ball miss the pitch entirely.

They eventually removed Warner on the long-off boundary, but by then the game was gone after a 70-run opening stand with Aaron Finch.

Finch had latched onto anything too full or short, hitting 37 off 23 in his own best innings in four months.

He also provided the shot of the night when he jumped down the wicket to a 148km/h Laiharu Kumara ball and creamed it back down the ground for four.

Glenn Maxwell also went for five, but it was only a brief hiccup as Steve Smith (28 off 26) and Marcus Stoinis (16 off 7) saw Australia home.

While Warner and Finch provided the theatrics, it was Zampa who engineered the result.

His 2-12 was the most economical return of his international T20 career, while he turned the match with the wicket of Charith Asalanka for 35.

With Asalanka taking on the quicks, Zampa had him caught on the square leg boundary when he tried to sweep a wrong'un.

In total he sent down 12 dots and was not hit for one boundary, with the built-up pressure evident in the wicket of Avishka Fernando two overs later.

Mitchell Starc was also crucial with his 2-27, bowling Perera for 35 with a vintage in-swinging yorker in the over after Asalanka's dismissal to stop Sri Lanka's momentum.

with agencies

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