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Sri Lanka cruise into semi-finals

ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight Group F, Trent Bridge:
Sri Lanka 158-5 (20 ovs) bt New Zealand 110 (17 ovs) by 48 runs

Tillakeratne Dilshan

Highlights - Sri Lanka thrash New Zealand

By Jamie Lillywhite

Sri Lanka claimed the remaining World Twenty20 semi-final place with a 48-run win over New Zealand at Trent Bridge.

Tillakeratne Dilshan made an assured 48 from 37 balls and Mahela Jayawardene struck six fours and a six in a fluent 41 from 29 as Sri Lanka posted 158-5.

New Zealand raced to 30-0 in the third over but spinner Ajantha Mendis took 3-9 as the Kiwis lost their final six wickets for just 17 runs in four overs.

Sri Lanka will now play West Indies in Friday's semi-final at The Oval.

It looked as though the outcome would be very different after an electrifying start to the New Zealand reply, as 20 came from the second over bowled by the slow left-armer Sanath Jayasuriya.

Aaron Redmond slammed three successive fours and completed the over with a six over long-off.

Left-arm seamer Isuru Udana stemmed the flood of runs when Brendon McCullum mis-timed and top-edged, and Lasith Malinga's slower ball full toss accounted for Redmond, who flipped straight to midwicket.

The magic of Mendis then came to the fore, firstly courtesy of a sharp stumping by Kumar Sangakkara and three balls later knocking back the off pole after bamboozling Scott Styris.

Martin Guptill was one of the few players in the event to combat Malinga, twice thumping him straight down the ground for four in the same over to maintain hope for the Kiwis.

But after Udana totally deceived Jacob Oram and disturbed two of his stumps, the pressure finally told on Guptill who top-edged the venerable Jayasuriya to deep square-leg.

Jayasuriya's day began about as badly as it could have done with a golden duck from the third ball of the match, a top-edged sweep at spinner Nathan McCullum safely taken at backward square-leg.

Scott Styris departs
Mendis proved a little too mysterious for the New Zealand batsmen

Chamara Silva hit two fours before he too mis-timed one and a leading edge was caught at mid-off, but Sangakkara opened his account with consecutive elegant offside boundaries off Ian Butler.

He shared 52 with Dilshan, who did not have the opportunity to play his scoop shot but drove and cut wristily and is the only player to pass 200 runs for the tournament thus far.

Skipper Daniel Vettori conceded 12 from his opening over but returned to claim the wicket of Dilshan, who was caught low at short cover.

But Jayawardene continued in majestic fashion, combining authentic shots with brilliant innovation.

He hit the only six of the innings in the 14th over with an effortlessly struck straight drive from a free hit off Vettori that sailed into the television gantry.

Jayawardene moved across his stumps to flick one from wide of off-stump over square-leg for four, and even used the back of the bat to execute a reverse sweep.

That type of ingenuity coupled with such a penetrating, varied bowling attack and outstanding fielding surely makes the Sri Lankans a good bet to challenge for the trophy.

They have a wonderful attack and deserved to win

Daniel Vettori

Sangakkara was delighted with his team's progress and said: "It was a great batting performance from Dilshan, he was brilliant.

"We knew that after the first six overs, and the fielding restrictions were lifted, we could pull them back. Now we can build on all of this and see where it takes us."

He also singled out Mendis and added: "He is very difficult to read and he has an attacking mindset. It's a great ability to have."

Vettori, meanwhile, highlighted his side's batting rather than injury problems as the reason for New Zealand's exit.

"It was a gettable total but in three major matches our highest score was 120," he said.

"We got off to a decent start, then capitulated in the middle. But they have a wonderful attack and deserved to win.

"We had a very comfortable draw. We played a couple of minnows and were then in a position to reach the semi-finals, but we didn't take our opportunities."

"We're devastated but injuries were not the reason we lost to Sri Lanka."



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see also
World Twenty20 day 12 as it happened
16 Jun 09 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 day 12 photos
16 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Gul heroics inspire Pakistan win
13 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka see off valiant Ireland
14 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2009 results
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 squads
10 Jun 09 |  Cricket


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