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Semi-final: Sri Lanka v New Zealand
Jamaica, 24 April 2007

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World Cup semi-final, Jamaica: Sri Lanka 289-5 (50 ovs) bt New Zealand 208 (41.4 ovs) by 81 runs

By Jamie Lillywhite

Mahela Jayawardene
Jayawardene timed his innings perfectly in Jamaica

Mahela Jayawardene's masterful maiden World Cup century led Sri Lanka into the World Cup final with an 81-run victory against New Zealand in Jamaica.

The captain took 48 balls to strike his first boundary but paced his ninth one-day century expertly.

Sri Lanka scored 102 runs from the final 10 overs to amass 289-5.

Peter Fulton and Scott Styris shared 73 but five wickets fell for 11 runs in four overs as the Kiwis suffered a fifth World Cup semi-final defeat.

New Zealand needed a sound start and a magnificent spell from charismatic paceman Lasith Malinga ensured they did not get one.

The Sri Lanka bowlers were aided by some cloud cover not evident when they batted, but exploited the conditions superbly.

606: DEBATE
SC

Having nipped one back at pace to trap Stephen Fleming in the second over, Malinga produced a succession of unplayable leg cutters that Ross Taylor and Fulton could only smile wistfully at as the ball fizzed past the outside edge.

In partnership with the economical Chaminda Vaas they left the Kiwis in turmoil and the first boundary did not materialise until the ninth over.

There was a brief period of respite when Malinga was taken off after a spell of 1-5 from four overs and Dilhara Fernando replaced him.

In his first over Fernando was twice warned for running down the wicket by Rudi Koertzen and bowled three no-balls.

Styris, with a century and four fifties already to his name in the tournament, despatched him for two sixes.

Malinga returned and had him well caught for 17 at mid-on by Muttiah Muralitharan, but no-ball was called and Styris and Fulton recorded their 50 stand from as many deliveries.

With dark clouds beginning to close in around Sabina Park, Sri Lanka were relieved to reach 20 overs, the point at which a result could be determined.

Lasith Malinga
Malinga's magnificent spell put New Zealand on the rack early on

At that stage, however, the partnership had taken New Zealand only two runs behind the required Duckworth-Lewis rate.

Occasional spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan was introduced in the 22nd over and made the decisive breakthrough with his fifth ball, Styris chipping to mid-wicket.

But few could have predicted the severity of the collapse that was to follow.

Murali managed to cling on to a return catch offered by Jacob Oram, while Brendon McCullum injudiciously top-edged a sweep next ball and was brilliantly caught by a diving Chamara Silva at square-leg.

Fulton's resistance ended in the next over and though Craig McMillan managed to swipe two sixes despite being severely hampered by a stomach muscle injury, the Black Caps were already at half-mast.

Last man Jeetan Patel launched Dilshan for a straight six in a final wicket stand of 59 from 10 overs but the Sri Lankans were not to be denied a place in the final for the first time since their memorable victory in 1996.

Jayawardene's day began well when he won the toss and quickly decided to bat first. With Stephen Fleming admitting he was also keen to bat first, it looked looked like being a significant factor.

But Sanath Jayasuriya looked back in disbelief in the third over after his attempt to turn a straight one from James Franklin failed and the middle stump was knocked back.

That counteracted some early success for Sri Lanka when Shane Bond, New Zealand's strike bowling weapon, struggled with his line and was glanced for two fours in his opening over by Upul Tharanga.

Bond was taken out of the attack after his four overs went for 18, Tharanga adopting a bold approach in the absence of Jayasuriya.

Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed when advancing down the wicket and mis-timing high off the bat to mid-on, while Tharanga's innings ended on 73 when he missed a sweep and was bowled around his legs.

Bond returned after 32 overs and had success, but the paceman was fortunate with a dubious decision.

Silva swept Vettori into the second tier at mid-wicket to give some impetus to the innings but was given lbw by Koertzen when replays showed a thick inside edge into his pad.

Jayawardene, who arrived at the crease in the 14th over, hooked a short one from Bond for four and was on 46 with 10 overs left in which to accelerate.

606: DEBATE

A magnificently struck straight drive off Oram disappeared into the sightscreen but Jayawardene's second six was due to a lapse from Bond at fine-leg.

Jayawardene, who failed to reach double figures in the 2003 World Cup, had made 69 when he swept a full toss from Patel, but Bond could only tip the ball onto the rope in an over costing 14.

The captain maintained the momentum, however, with cuts of contrasting power to the backward point fence off Franklin in the 47th over.

Two more boundaries in the penultimate over took him to three figures, his ninth one-day century recorded in style with a textbook square cut.

There was more to come in the final over from a rattled Bond, Jayawardene hooking a full toss for his third six as he and Russel Arnold raced to a 50 stand from 26 balls to leave the Kiwis firmly on the back foot.

SEE ALSO
No dream ending for Fleming
25 Apr 07 |  Cricket
Bond in the swing for Kiwis
23 Apr 07 |  New Zealand


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