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SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, Nov 1, (AP): Jos Buttler hit a terrific maiden Twenty20 century and propelled England to a 26-run victory over Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup on Monday. The fourth successive win meant unbeaten England were the firm favorites to top the group and make the semifinals next week with one last group game left against South Africa on Sunday. Buttler’s unbeaten 101 off 67 balls powered England to 163-4 after Eoin Morgan’s top-ranked T20 team had successfully chased down small totals in their last three Super 12 games. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 137 in 19 overs, but they had the result in the balance until the 17th over, when the last five wickets suddenly began evaporating for just eight runs. Wanindu Hasaranga, 34 runs off 21 balls, had Sri Lanka in the hunt while the dew was making things difficult for the England bowlers. But when he fell to a superb relayed catch between Jason Roy and Sam Billings on the edge of the boundary in the 17th over, the collapse started.
Moeen Ali (2-15) and Rashid Khan (2-19) were miserly and Chris Jordan also bowled a decent four overs to finish with 2-24. Legspinner Hasaranga (3-21) had earlier used his experience of playing two previous games on the low bouncy pitches of Sharjah Cricket Stadium to help peg back England to 47-3. But Buttler waited patiently for the seamers to return and batted more fluently after scoring his halfcentury off 45 balls. Fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera (1-43) and Lahiru Kumara (0-44) missed their lengths as Buttler completed his 100 with his sixth six off the last ball in an eventful 20th over, during which he was dropped on 95. Buttler now has international centuries in all three formats. Sri Lanka were all but out of semifinal reckoning after losing their third game out of four. Meanwhile, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will miss his team’s last two group games at the cricket T20 World Cup due to a hamstring injury. Shakib sustained a left lower-hamstring strain during fielding in the Group 1 match against the West Indies at Sharjah on Friday.