Birmingham Commonwealth Games: White Ferns thrash Sri Lanka to reach cricket semi-finals, guaranteed shot at medal

The White Ferns will play for a medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, reaching the semi-finals courtesy of a 45-run victory over Sri Lanka at Edgbaston.

New Zealand and England's two victories from their first two matches leave both Sri Lanka and South Africa unable to qualify for the last four, and will give the White Ferns the chance at either gold or bronze.

Playing for a medal is the perfect start for new coach Ben Sawyer, appointed after the White Ferns' failure to qualify for the knockout stages of their own Cricket World Cup earlier this year.

The White Ferns celebrate.
The White Ferns celebrate. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

After reaching 147/7 from their 20 overs, the White Ferns' bowlers stepped up to restrict Sri Lanka to 102/8, with Hayley Jensen starring with the ball - taking figures of 3/5 from her four overs.

Winning the toss and batting first, New Zealand's opening pair of captain Sophie Devine (24) and Suzie Bates (34) added 51 inside the opening seven overs.

But Devine's exit triggered a middle-order wobble, as the White Ferns fell from 51/0 to 79/4. 

Brooke Halliday (22 off 23) and Izzy Gaze (16 off 14) took the White Ferns past 120 - setting Sri Lanka more than a run a ball for victory - before a blistering 20 not out from just eight balls to Lea Tahuhu pushed New Zealand's score to 147/8.

With the ball, Jensen was denied a wicket from the first ball of the innings, trapping Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu in front but denied a leg before wicket decision. Instead, Jensen had her wicket three balls later, rearranging Athatapaththu's stumps for a duck.

Hannah Rowe (1/7) dismissed fellow opener Vishmi Gunaratne at 14/2, before Jensen had a second to remove Hasini Perera for eight at 18/3.

Regular wickets cost Sri Lanka, as the asking rate soon ballooned out to well over a run a ball, as Jensen picked up a third wicket when she had Anushka Sanjeewani out for two, chopping on to her own stumps.

Spinner Eden Carson also chipped in with two wickets of her own, taking 2/30 from her four overs, while Amelia Kerr (1/22) and Rosemary Mair (1/13) also took one apiece.

At present, the White Ferns are top of Group B, sitting ahead of England courtesy of net run rate, with the two teams to meet on Friday.

The winner of that clash will likely avoid world champions Australia in the semi-final to be played on either August 6 or 7.

New Zealand 147/7 (Bates 34, Devine 22; Ranaweera 3/30)

Sri Lanka 102/8 (De Silva 36; Jensen 3/5)