Lanka land in Mumbai first

New Zealands run ends in semifinal again as Islanders ensure an all-sub-continental title clash

Sri Lanka’s hard-nosed professionals swept aside New Zealand after a few late over jitters to take their country to their second successive World Cup final.

The hosts’ bowlers took a brave first step, dismissing Kiwis for a below-par 217 after the visitors opted to bat, and the Lankan batsmen scaled down the target for a five-wicket win. Sri Lanka will now face either India or Pakistan in the title clash at the Wankhede stadium on April 2.

New Zealand didn’t feature in anybody’s wish-list coming into the quadrennial mega show after a series of flop shows against India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but they surprised the world, reaching the semifinals of the event. The Black Caps’ quarterfinal victory over South Africa at Dhaka has prompted many to believe in the possibility of another act of giant-killing.

The beginning of the match even indicated a New Zealand surge when their openers went off the blocks brightly but soon the Lankan bowlers pulled things back. The dismissal of Brendon McCullum pushed the subsequent batsmen into a siege mentality, often satisfied with singles and occasional twos as the flow of boundaries soon dried up.

Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor, New Zealand’s three main batsmen, got starts but could not build on them. Guptill could be forgiven as even the world’s best would have struggled to defend a searing inswinging yorker from Lasith Malinga. But no such luxury would be available for Ryder and Taylor, who threw their wickets away playing rash shots.

Styris played a sensible knock, bringing up a serene fifty, but there was hardly any support from the other end as New Zealand lost their last six for a mere 25 runs. It also meant the 77-run alliance between Taylor and Styris for the fourth wicket was the highest partnership in New Zealand innings. Kiwis’ effort was vastly inadequate against a batting line-up that includes a set of batsmen adept in playing in such conditions.

Just like he did against England, Upul Tharanga took the fight straightway into the opposition ranks, taking on Nathan McCullum, who opened the bowling along with Tim Southee, who struggled to contain the quick pouring in of runs. The left-hander smashed McCullum over the sightscreen for a maximum and he looked primed for another big knock.

It took a moment of pure magic from Ryder to get rid of Tharanga. The southpaw’s blinding square cut off Southee was taken by an airborne Ryder at point and that was also, perhaps, the lone moment when New Zealand made their presence felt on the field on a disappointing day. Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan put the New Zealand attack through the wringer during a 120-run alliance for the second wicket that took the life out of New Zealand designs. As he has been doing in the tournament so far, Dilshan took his time to settle, and once got his eye in, the right-hander motored away in characteristic fashion.

At other end, Sangakkara was the customary solid presence. However, the dismissal of Dilshan, once again the Southee-Ryder combine fetching the breakthrough, turned the proceedings on its head, heaping a truckload of pressure and uncertainty on Lankan batsmen.

Mahela Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Chamara Silva departed in quick succession as Lanka lost four wickets for 25 runs, adding a new spring to Kiwis’ steps. But the Lankan middle-order survived the storm to ensure a trip to Mumbai.

Scoreboard

NEW ZEALAND
Guptill b Malinga    39
(65b, 3x4)
B McCullum b Herath    13
(12b, 1x4, 1x6)
Ryder c Sangakkara b Muralitharan    19
(34b, 2x4)
Taylor c Tharanga b Mendis    36
(55b, 1x4)
Styris lbw Muralitharan    57
(77b, 5x4)
Williamson lbw Malinga    22
(16b, 3x4)
N McCullum c Sangakkara b Malinga    9
(9b, 1x6)
Oram c Jayawardene b Dilshan    7
(9b, 1x4)
Vettori (not out)    3
(3b)
Southee c Sangakkara b Mendis    0
(3b)
McKay b Mendis    0
(2b)
Extras (LB-5, W-6, NB-1)    12
Total (all out, 48.5 overs)    217
Fall of wickets: 1-32 (B McCullum), 2-69 (Ryder), 3-84 (Guptill), 4-161 (Taylor), 5-192 (Williamson), 6-204 (N McCullum), 7-213 (Styris), 8-215 (Oram), 9-217 (Southee). Bowling: Malinga 9-0-55-3 (nb-1), Herath 9-1-31-1 (w-2), Mathews 6-0-27-0, Mendis 9.5-0-35-3, Muralitharan 10-1-42-2 (w-3), Dilshan 5-0-22-1 (w-1).
Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 20/0, 10: 38/1, 20: 74/2, 30: 122/3, 40: 165/4, End of Innings: 217 all out in 48.5 overs.  Power Play 1: 1-10: 38/1, Power Play 2: 11-15: 22/0, Power Play 3 (batting): 41.1-46: 41/2.
SRI LANKA
Tharanga c Ryder b Southee    30
(31b, 4x4, 1x6)
Dilshan c Ryder b Southee    73
(93b, 10x4, 1x6)
Sangakkara c Styris b Vettori    54
(79b, 7x4, 1x6)
Jayawardene lbw Vettori    1
(3b)
Samaraweera (not out)    23
(38b, 2x4)
Silva B Southee    13
(25b, 2x4)
Mathews (not out)    14
(18, 1x4, 1x6)
Extras (LB-2, W-10)    12
Total (5 wickets, 47.5 overs)    220
Fall of wickets: 1-40 (Tharanga), 2-160 (Dilshan), 3-161 (Jayawardene), 4-169 (Sangakkara), 5-185 (Silva)
Bowling: N McCullum 6-0-33-0 (w-3), Southee 10-2-57-3 (w-3), Vettori 10-0-36-1, Oram 8-1-29-0, McKay 9.5-0-37-1 (w-4), Styris 2-0-12-0, Ryder 2-0-14-0. Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 29/0, 10: 47/1, 20: 83/1, 30: 147/1, 40: 174/4, End of Innings: 220/5 in 47.5 overs. Power Play 1: 1-10: 47/1, Power Play 2: 11-15: 20/0, Power Play 3 (batting): 45.1-50: 24/0 in 2.5 overs.

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