A record-breaking Marcus Stoinis knock lifted Australia to a crucial victory over Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup on Tuesday night.
Australia collected its first win of the tournament and gave its net run-rate a considerable boost in the Perth Stadium fixture — and Aaron Finch’s men largely had a Stoinis knock of 58 from 18 to thank.
When Glenn Maxwell departed for 23 from 11 following a substitute fielder’s superb boundary catch, the Australians found themselves in an unconvincing position at 3-89 after 12.2 overs, pursuing 158 to win.
The reigning World Cup champions were again being hindered by the form rut of Finch, who mustered 31 runs but soaked up 42 balls and looked painfully scratchy.
But Stoinis blasted four fours and six sixes to almost single-handedly propel Australia to a seven-wicket win in 16.3 overs.
The Melbourne Stars weapon struck the fastest T20 international half-century by an Australian in the process.
“Glenn Maxwell came out and absolutely demolished them for the first six or seven balls, but they just started to hit a few road humps.
“Well, Stoinis certainly cleared those road humps. He went big, he went long and it was some of the cleanest hitting you’ll ever see. It was magnificent.”
Stoinis pinched the Australian record from David Warner and Maxwell. Warner had pumped a half-century from 18 balls in 2010, before Maxwell matched the feat in 2014 and 2016.
India’s Yuvraj Singh is the only man with a quicker T20 World Cup half-century, having reached 50 in 12 balls in the 2007 edition.
“To be honest, I was really nervous today, being at home in Perth, a lot of family and friends here,” Stoinis said after receiving man-of-the-match honours.
“So I was really nervous going into it, but I’m really happy we ended up putting on a bit of a clinic there.”
Australia is now set to meet England at the SCG on Friday night, while Sri Lanka is awaiting a clash with New Zealand at the Sydney venue on Saturday night.