Sri Lanka outclass Kiwis to reach final

Published: March 29, 2011

Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera (L) and Mahela Jayawardene celebrate their team's win against New Zealand during their ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-final match in Colombo March 29, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera (L) and Mahela Jayawardene celebrate their team's win against New Zealand during their ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-final match in Colombo March 29, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (3rd R) is congratulated by teammates Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, captain and wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara and Ajantha Mendis (L-R) after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Jesse Ryder. PHOTO: REUTERS New Zealand batsman Nathan McCullum (L) reacts after been dismissed by Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara (C) and fast bowler Lasith Malinga (R) in their Cricket World Cup semi-final match played at The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on March 29, 2011. PHOTO: AFP Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga (C) celebrates with his wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara (R) after he dismissed New Zealand batsman Nathan McCullum. PHOTO: AFP Fans of Sri Lanka hold up a banner ahead of their Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-final match against New Zealand in Colombo March 29, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sri Lanka reached the World Cup final with a five-wicket win against New Zealand as veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said goodbye to his home crowd.

Set a modest 218 to win, Sri Lanka wobbled in the middle before reaching their target with Tillakaratne Dilshan (73) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (54) setting the foundation. Muralitharan took his 534th wicket off his last ball on home soil as New Zealand were bowled out for a below-par score of 217.

Sangakkara paying rich tribute to the off-spinner, said he was an icon for Sri Lanka.

“It was the last game for Murali in Sri Lanka and we wanted to give him a good send-off,” he said. “Murali is the icon of Sri Lanka, on the field, off the field, a fantastic human being and a great team man.”

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori blamed his team’s batting for the loss.

“The top order really set it up but we missed out by not capitalising,” said Vettori. “I think that’s where we lost the game. We’ve been an outstanding fielding side all tournament, we fought hard but it wasn’t enough today.”

Sri Lanka, cruising along at 160 for one, lost four wickets for 25 runs to raise fears of an upset before Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews  guided them home. The victory took the hosts into their second successive World Cup final, after finishing runners-up in 2007.

New Zealand staged a brave rearguard action. The openers took the hosts to 40 by the eighth over before Upul Tharanga fell after scoring a 31-ball 30 with four boundaries and a six.

Dilshan then added 120 for the second wicket with Sangakkara, before the opener was dismissed by Tim Southee. The hosts then lost Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara in the space of eight runs and then Chamara Silva (13) before the team held their nerve.

Mendis, Malinga restrict Kiwis

Earlier, Ajantha Mendis (three for 35) and Lasith Malinga (three for 55), along with Muralitharan (two for 42), kept New Zealand under control after Daniel Vettori won the toss and opted to bat. Scott Styris, who top-scored with 57, added 77 for the fourth wicket with Ross Taylor (36) but the hosts never allowed them to run away with a big total.

Styris and Kane Williamson (22) added 42 in the Powerplay but New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for just 56 runs. Martin Guptill (39) and Jesse Ryder (19) took the total to 69 before Muralitharan had Ryder caught off a quickish delivery. New Zealand never recovered from the shock and with the hosts knowing the conditions well, it was almost a smooth ride into the final for them.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Malik
    Mar 29, 2011 - 10:23PM

    Whoever wins final, worldcup will be in Asia…..Recommend

  • Noor Nabi
    Mar 29, 2011 - 10:40PM

    This is an all-SAARC moment and may it lead to similar joint victories in the future.Recommend

  • Mar 29, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Well done SriLanka! Recommend

  • MS
    Mar 30, 2011 - 1:12AM

    Thank god we Pakistanis with all our problems are happy that the world cup will be won by an asian team. But check the indian forums..they are always bitter and negative about Pakistan. Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2011 - 12:17PM

    The important thing is that we have shown the world who is best in cricket.that is only Asia.Recommend

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