Sri Lanka have entered into the World Cup Finals just like the previous edition in the Caribbean. In yesterday’s Semi-Final, Sri Lanka defeated underdogs New Zealand by 5 wickets at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo to enter the Final of the ICC World Cup 2011.
The Kiwis promised a lot with the bat early on but due to a disastrous finish of losing 6 wickets for 25 runs were bowled out for a below par 217 in 48.5 overs having won the toss and electing to bat first. Sri Lanka in their run chase were cruising along but stuttered once they lost three wickets in quick succession and at one point of time were reduced to 185 for 5 in the 43rd over. Tim Southee inspired by the frequent pep talk from the New Zealand bowling Coach Allan Donald put up a spirited show taking three wickets but couldn’t prevent the Lankans in getting home because of the small total.
Sri Lanka’s chase was well set by a solid 120-run stand between Tillakaratne Dilshan (73 from 90 balls with 10 fours and a six) and Skipper Kumar Sangakkara who got the Man of the Match for scoring 54 (from 79 balls with 7 fours and a six) along with three catches in the first half. There was a panic in the Sri Lankan dressing room when these two batsmen and Mahela Jayawardene got out in quick succession. The lower middle order consisting of the trio of Samaraweera (23* from 38 balls), Chamara Silva (13 from 25 balls) and Angelo Mathews (14* from 18 balls with a four and a six) laboured to get SL to the victory by the fag end of the 48th over.
Early on the Kiwis got a decent stand of 77 for the 4th wicket between Ross Taylor (36 from 55 balls with 1 four) and Scott Styris (57 from 77 balls with 5 fours) which gave them a platform of sorts for a total of atleast 250. However that just didn’t happen because of a lower order collapse. Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis took three wickets each for the homeside while Muttiah Muralitharan played his last match in his country finishing with proud figures of 10-1-42-2.
Sri Lanka who lost to Australia in the last World Cup finals will be locking horns with either India or Pakistan in this edition’s finals on the 2nd of April at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.