ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, World Cup 2011, Colombo

Malinga's magic and Ryder's Leverock moment

Plays of the day from the 1st semi-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Colombo

Firdose Moonda in Colombo

March 29, 2011

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Jesse Ryder takes a blinder to dismiss Upul Tharanga, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 29, 2011
Dwayne Leverock, eat your heart out. © AFP
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The corker yorker
Lasith Malinga was always going to target the toes of the New Zealand batsmen and the delivery he got Martin Guptill out on was the most attractive yorker of the lot. It was a perfect inswinging ball that would have taken exemplary defence and the ability to the bat down at just the right moment to keep out. Guptill didn't time it badly, but he didn't time it perfectly and that was what made the difference. He was properly corked, the stumps were out of the ground and Malinga's poison had worked.

The first and the last
He was far from a fully fit man and even thought he was hobbling, the crowd were ecstatic when Muttiah Muralitharan came on to bowl. It would be his last match on Sri Lankan soil and every ball was cheered. The anticipation for a wicket grew with every ball and after two overs, it came. The ball received a thin edge off Jesse Ryder's bat and found itself nestled in Kumar Sangakkara's gloves and the stadium stood up. Every fan was off their feet, every pair of hands was being slapped together, ever face was smiling, as though they never wanted his spell to end. A few hours later, it had to. Murali lined up to bowl his last ball in ODI cricket for his country and it caught Scott Styris on the pad. The decision was reviewed but it was upheld and Murali sauntered off the home stage with a wicket. The clapping was thunderous and the smiles were huge, the biggest smile came from the man himself.

The fabulous fielding
Sri Lanka lived up to their reputation of being the best subcontinental fielding side at the tournament with a committed display of groundwork. Tillakaratne Dilshan, in his white floppy hat at mid-off, was one of the best. He pounced on balls that were played awkwardly to him, stopping singles when he could easily have let the batsmen hurry through. Off an over from Rangana Herath, the 39th of New Zealand's innings, Dilshan did it three times, all athletically, all saving one.

The Leverock moment
He is not quite as heavy as Dwayne Leverock, but the earth probably still moved when he took the catch that may become the catch of the tournament. Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan were looking comfortable enough for another century stand, the bowlers were getting irritable and the boundary balls were mounting. Tim Southee bowled one, short, wide and cuttable and Tharanga obliged. Up went the ball, but only as far the leaping Ryder. He was at full strength, poised like a ballerina and he times his move perfectly. Thud. He was back down to earth, ball in hand, wicket claimed.

The effortless boundary
Which one? Dilshan and Sangakkara were feasting off the fours at will and looked as though once they'd decided which shot to play, they'd play it no matter what or who was in their way. Dilshan was doing it with almost no care in the world and when Daniel Vettori put two gullies on the offside, he didn't care. Dilshan drilled the ball between the both of them, timed so well that neither would have got to it if they'd move, so it's probably just as well they didn't.

The silencer
As the middle order marched one by one to the crease, the feeling in the Premadasa Stadium become more and more nervy. Then, Chamara Silva had an audacious attempt at cutting a short ball and in his haste found a bottom edge on to his stumps. Tim Southee's toothy grin said that New Zealand knew they were putting up enough of a fight. The stillness of the crowd said it even louder. The singing, dancing, cheering masses went eerily quiet, but not for long.

The premature ending
Sri Lanka still needed four runs to win the match when a fireworks display started around the stadium. The last two overs had to be bowled with the sound of firework going off all around and it proved a distraction, in more ways than one. Umpire Aleem Dar called a dead ball before Andy McKay delivered the first ball of the 48th over, which neither McKay, nor Thilan Samaraweera saw. McKay bowled, Samaraweera sent it through the covers for four and started celeDbrating but was stopped by Dar's signal. The players looked perplexed, thinking the match was over but it wasn't. Four balls later, it was. And the fireworks went mad.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 22 
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Posted by Lahiru on (March 30, 2011, 18:38 GMT)

we dnt hv anyone to replace chamara silva at the movement..we are gonna hv to bear wit him for the finals..bt he will be more than useful if top 4 got out cheaply..remember he is the only one except mahela who batted consistently in 2007 WC

Posted by Lalith on (March 30, 2011, 11:03 GMT)

After Lasith's over that took the wicket of Gupti, one commentator said that if a youngster needs to learn in-swinging yorkers Lasith is the man in the world right now. When another commentator asked Tony Graig, his strategy to face Lasith, he said just stay in the other end (Non-strikers).

Posted by Lalith on (March 30, 2011, 10:59 GMT)

My Team for Final: Upul, Thilakarathna, Thilan, Kumar, Mahela, Angelo, Thissara, Rangana, Lasith, Mutthaiyya, & Ajantha. With top class fielding we should be able to beat PAKS in Final

Posted by Lalith on (March 30, 2011, 10:23 GMT)

@Kugan Kn Bring on Perera for Chamara. Perera can bowl well

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

mmm still I don't believe chamara silva should drop coz he got enough experience & talent,very good fielder & useful leg spinner....yesterday he could not get any instant runs coz of kiwis great came back & they did their basics exactly correct at the time we were talking about. At this moment we should give our full support & respect to our team to win the title. Whatever we speak here it doesn't make any sense coz the team management & the captain is the one who's going to select the team! Wish u all the best LIONS! BUDU SARANAI!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

Well we would love to drop chamara silva, but theres not one better to replace him, which is why everyoen said at the beginning of the tourney that dinesh chandimal should have been included. But seriously as a middle order batsman of a worls class team hwo hard is it for him to get a single?? when he came out SL needed 48 off 82 and when he went out it was 39 or so off 50 balls...he increased the rpessure..surely there must be better batsmen in SL

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 2:36 GMT)

For the final we need to get Silva and one spinner out. Get Thisara and Nuwan in. Putting up 230-250 in the final is not ogin to do it. Mendis has performed well....but for Indians have seen too much of him. As for Thisara...he is very capable of adding 15-20 runs without just tieng up the whole team.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 21:38 GMT)

Why we are not dropping not chamara silva who is not in form and play Thisara perera or Nuwan Kulasekara whos batting is better than most of our middle oreder batsmen.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 19:26 GMT)

Chamara did wat he can do!! He need some time in the middle to settle.. We need because wat happen if the top order got out cheaply! we need him! GG Lanka!!

Posted by kushan on (March 29, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

drop Chamara Silva N BRING IN tHISSARA

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