Sri Lanka gave New Zealand a sound thrashing after dominating them with both bat and the ball in the last league match of Group C at Johannesburg. New Zealand batsmen couldn’t quite get going to be restricted for a total of 164 for 7 after electing to bat first having won the toss. Sanath Jayasuriya struck his second consecutive half century which guided the Lankans to a seven-wicket win with seven balls to spare.
At Johannesburg, the batsmen are expected to make merry with their big shots easily sailing out of the ground but in this game, it was the bowlers who were on top with the Kiwi batsmen struggling to up the tempo. A 70-run stand between no.3 batsman Peter Fulton (25 from 19 with a couple of sixes) and a beautiful half century from the young Ross Taylor (62 from 42 with three fours and three sixes) raised the hopes of a Kiwi recovery but Sri Lankans just did so well that despite a long batting line-up the total wasn’t big enough. The problem for the Kiwis towards the end was the failures of Scott Styris and Craig McMillan. It was only Jacob Oram doing the big hitting in the death remaining unbeaten on 33 from 20 which had two fours and two sixes. The only bowler proving expensive for Mahela Jayawardene was left arm medium pacer Gayan Wijekoon, who was taken for 50 in his 4 overs.
The Sri Lankans were off to the start they wanted with Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya putting on exactly half of what NZ had made in just 7.3 overs. Tharanga made 37 from 25 with two fours and two sixes in the opening stand of 82. Sanath Jayasuriya struck 61 from 44 with 6 fours and three sixes while Skipper Mahela Jayawardene finished the game with an unbeaten 35 from 18 with 4 fours and a six. New Zealand’s strike bowler Shane Bond had a dismal day with 45 runs coming from his 4 overs. Daniel Vettori was the only bowler who had a control over things with his 2 for 23 from 4. For the second time in this tournament, Sanath Jayasuriya got the Man of the Match award.