Sri Lanka saved themselves from getting knocked out of the Champions Trophy with a seven-wicket win over the Black Caps at Mumbai. The Kiwis lost most part of the match in the afternoon itself after their innings was in complete disarray to be eventually bowled out for just 165. The Lankans knocked off the runs with relative comfort.
Today’s game was played under much improved pitch conditions as the ICC had decided to get Polyvinyl acetate (PVA), a kind of glue to be sprayed onto the pitch to bind the surface together for 100 overs. The results paid off with the ball coming onto the bat although New Zealand after winning the toss were shot out for a paltry total. In the second innings, the Lankan batsmen didn’t find much trouble as the pitch didn’t show any signs of deterioration as Sri Lanka coasted to victory with 14 overs to spare. Upul Tharanga continued his fine form to score 56 before getting stumped by McCullum off Jeetan Patel. The off spinner Jeetan Patel had taken two wickets in an over which was of two set batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga. Jayawardene after scoring 48 had holed down to long on as he stepped down the track to hit out Jeetan Patel. Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu with scores of 19 and 10 respectively were the two unbeaten batsmen who saw SL to victory.
Shane Bond who was brought back into the team after an injury was taken for plenty of runs as Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga got stuck into his bowling in his first spell. Bond had bowled 4 overs in his first spell which was taken for 36 runs. He was also smashed for the only six of the game by Sanath Jayasuriya over covers. Jayasuriya was the first man out after he was unlucky to be given out caught behind off Kyle Mills after blasting his way to 20. Even replays were inconclusive of whether Jayasuriya had got a nick or not.
Earlier in the afternoon, New Zealand got a major setback as they lost their last match hero Stephen Fleming leg before the wicket to Chaminda Vaas for a duck. The pitch had quickened up and the batsmen at times were slow in reacting. New Zealand were off to a sticky start on a sticky wicket and the batsmen became rather anxious to get a move along. Lou Vincent was one such anxious batsman looking to play a big pull shot and getting foxed by a slower leg cutter from Farveez Maharoof. The Kiwis had included Scott Styris in this match along with Bond but the former couldn’t make any difference to the side this time as he got a faint edge in his cut shot off Jayasuriya to Sangakkara. It was Muralitharan who got into his groove now and once he got his big turning offies along with the doosras, it was just matter of time before the Kiwis fell apart.
Murali’s first wicket was Oram who was bowled round his legs failing to read a doosra from over the stumps. Next to go was Astle who was one of the players who had to be faulted for New Zealand’s defeat. Astle after getting his eye in and after scoring 42 played a needless sweep shot in the air with two men in the deep and his sweep went straight to Lasith Malinga at deep mid wicket. We were in for an early finish with New Zealand at 118 for 9. But Daniel Vettori who had come at the fall of the 7th wicket played sensibly well and his partner Jeetan Patel wasn’t bad against the Sri Lankan spinners. Both these two added 47 runs before Jeetan Patel was finally out attempting to play an attacking shot in the final over of the innings bowled by Lasith Malinga. Vettori for his efforts was the highest scorer with 46 not out which had five boundaries.
Muttiah Muralitharan had bowled his 10 overs conceding 23 runs besides taking four wickets to end up with the Man of the Match award. Jayasuriya was equally impressive taking two for 26 in his 10. Chaminda Vaas who had a good start in providing his team with the big wicket of Fleming lost his way in the end as he went for 19 runs in his 9th over which was the 49th of the innings.