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Page last updated at 23:45 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 00:45 UK

Sri Lanka eliminate India to set up England semi-final

ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia:
Sri Lanka 167-5 (20 overs) bt India 163-5 (20 overs) by five wickets

Match scorecard

Sri Lanka celebrate
Sri Lanka celebrate following their dramatic last-gasp win in St Lucia

By Sam Lyon

Sri Lanka will face England in the World Twenty20 semi-finals on Thursday after eliminating India in a thrilling Super Eights match in St Lucia.

Sri Lanka, chasing 164 to win, sent India home and sealed a five-wicket victory thanks to Chamara Kapugedera's last-gasp, final-ball six.

Their place in the last four was later confirmed when Australia thrashed hosts West Indies in Tuesday's second match.

Australia will face holders Pakistan in the second semi-final on Friday.

It means the two unbeaten sides of the Super Eights - Australia and England - could yet meet in Sunday's final, though few will write off unpredictable holders Pakistan or talented Sri Lanka in their semi-finals.

The latter, especially on this performance, will certainly provide stern opposition for England.

We talk about how capable our younger players are and they have shown how they can handle the pressure

Captain Kumar Sangakkara on Sri Lanka's tactics

A late-order fightback from their bowlers restricted India after they had threatened a mammoth total, and then middle-order batsmen Angelo Mathews and Kapugedera provided the finesse and power with the bat to see them to a dramatic last-ball win.

India, inaugural winners of this competition in 2007, bowed out of the competition with three Super Eight defeats from three, and captain Mahendra Dhoni conceded: "I think the execution of plans from their bowlers was very good, even with set batsmen we couldn't score freely.

"Overall, batting is our strength and we should have done better. We didn't perform to our potential. The last four to five overs they bowled really restricted us. We need to improve in quite a few areas."

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, meanwhile, admitted his side had focused on reaching the 144 they needed to eliminate India first and foremost in their run chase.

"We said 'If we feel we can win this then we go on to chase this, but if we can't, we make sure we get 144'," he said.

The skipper also praised the contributions of 22-year-old Mathews, who made a man-of-the-match innings of 46, and 23-year-old Kapugedera, who smashed an unbeaten 37.

Overall, batting is our strength and we should have done better. We didn't perform to our potential

India captain Mahendra Dhoni

"We talk about how capable our younger players are and they have shown how they can handle the pressure," he said. "Mathews and Kapugedera are going to be around for a long time.

"Everyone in the squad has to keep working hard and no-one can sit back and relax as we have these young guys pushing everyone really hard."

It all looked so promising for India as they got off to a fabulous start after winning the toss.

Dinesh Karthik, brought in at the expense of Murali Vijay, flashed a couple of boundaries through the off side before offering a leading- edge return catch to Lasith Malinga's second ball of the innings.

Form man Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir, despite some decidedly shoddy running from the latter, accelerated thereafter to take India to a welcome 90-1 off the first 10 overs.

Gambhir, dropped on five by wicketkeeper Sangakkara standing up to the stumps, brought up three typically wristy fours on both sides of the wicket, while Raina provided the more aggressive approach with a series of swiped efforts that raced to the rope.

Chamara Kapugedera
Kapugedera produced some astonishing hitting late in the piece

Even the loss of Gambhir, caught behind off a thin nick, did not interrupt India as Dhoni, pushed up the order, smashed a maximum over wide mid-on before Raina dispatched his first six on the slog-sweep over mid-wicket.

At one point it looked like India might post upwards of 185, not least when Raina survived a relatively simple stumping when Sangakkara failed to collect a Suraj Randiv yorker.

But some fine bowling restricted India's total. Raina departed after top-edging an attempted sweep and Yuvraj Singh clipped to mid-wicket.

And with Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan frequently unable to clear the square and Sri Lanka mixing their pace well, the latter fell off the last ball on the boundary edge as India eventually added 73-4 off the final 10 overs, a score 20 runs or so fewer than they would have wanted.

It meant Sri Lanka needed to score 144 to keep their noses in front of India and progress in the hope that Australia would beat the West Indies later.

But any frustration Dhoni's men felt eased early in the reply as key man Mahela Jayawardene edged to slip third ball and Sanath Jayasuriya spooned an easy catch to mid-wicket soon after.

However, Tillakaratne Dilshan was in a far more belligerent mood than the openers and snatched three boundaries on the leg side in his first over as Ashish Nehra strayed in line.

606: DEBATE
komsanghamitra

He raced to 33 off 26 balls despite a somewhat turgid pitch and slow outfield, and was threatening to take the game away from India until he holed out on the square leg boundary off Pathan - a shot that prompted a stern word from skipper Sangakkara at the other end.

After 10 overs Sri Lanka were 58-3 - 32 runs and two wickets behind India at the same stage - but Sangakkara kept his side in the hunt with a series of big shots, twice slogging over midwicket and then punching over long-on to keep the required run-rate at around 10 an over.

Mathews and Kapugedera picked up the mantle and ensured, with two overs left, they needed 30 to win but just 10 to ensure India's exit.

Few could have predicted the finale, though. Kapugedera smashed two maximums over the long-on boundary and Mathews punched over long-off as Sri Lanka pressed hard - only for the latter to be run out off the penultimate ball with his side still three short of victory.

Kapugedera was the very picture of calm, though, and he carved a glorious six over sweeper cover off the final delivery to see Sri Lanka home and complete India's misery.



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see also
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Red-hot Aussies thrash Sri Lanka
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Gayle on song in West Indies win
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West Indies hammered by Sri Lanka
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Australia crush India in Barbados
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ICC World Twenty20 2010
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Live cricket on the BBC
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