ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

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

Bowling masks Sri Lanka's batting woes

New Zealand struggled to post a score to challenge the home side, but their bowling managed to expose Sri Lanka's middle order problems

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan

March 29, 2011

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Muttiah Muralitharan had Jesse Ryder caught behind, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 29, 2011
Muttiah Muralitharan: highest number of World Cup appearances for Sri Lanka © AFP
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Sri Lanka undoubtedly started strong favourites against a New Zealand side whom they had beaten convincingly in their previous four World Cup meetings including the most recent one in Mumbai. Except for a brief while in the New Zealand innings when Ross Taylor and Scott Styris came together for a 77-run stand, it always seemed like Sri Lanka had things under control.

Against a potent and varied Sri Lankan attack, it was imperative that New Zealand have a strong start. However, the loss of three early wickets put them on the backfoot immediately. Though Styris and Taylor restored the balance temporarily, there was a flurry of wickets after the batting Powerplay was taken in the 41st over. From a healthy 192 for 4, New Zealand lost their last six wickets for just 25 runs to be bowled out for 217 in the 49th over.

New Zealand were expected to struggle against spin but they faced an even bigger problem in form of Lasith Malinga. His accurate and deadly yorker-length deliveries were almost impossible to score off and produced three wickets. In between, Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan picked up five wickets while conceding just 77 runs. England managed just 48 runs in boundaries in their quarter-final defeat to Sri Lanka and though New Zealand did slightly better, they were stifled by the Sri Lankan spinners and never quite managed to dictate terms in the middle of the innings.

All opposition teams have found the going extremely difficult in the final ten overs against Sri Lanka in Colombo. England scored just 56 runs and lost three wickets whereas New Zealand lost six wickets for 58. Malinga was also destructive in the game against Kenya as Sri Lanka picked up six wickets for just 15 runs in the final overs. Only Pakistan managed to play with some confidence in the final overs, scoring 68 runs for the loss of four wickets in their 11-run win.

Batting stats of the two teams across the innings
Team Period (Overs) Runs Wickets RR 1s/2s 4s/6s Dots
New Zealand Overall 217 10 4.44 93/12 16/2 166
Sri Lanka Overall 220 5 4.59 63/5 27/4 187
New Zealand 0-15 60 1 4.00 19/5 6/1 59
Sri Lanka 0-15 67 1 4.46 17/2 9/1 61
New Zealand 16-40 105 3 4.20 54/6 6/0 81
Sri Lanka 16-40 107 3 4.28 35/3 12/2 97
New Zealand 41-50 52 6 5.88 20/1 4/1 26
Sri Lanka 41-50 46 1 5.87 11/0 6/1 29

Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan started from where they left off against England and despite the fall of the aggressive Tharanga, Sri Lanka were well and truly on top for most part of the innings. They scored 132 runs in boundaries and were always above the required run-rate. New Zealand refused to go down without a fight though, and as they did in the game against South Africa, they seized the moment when Dilshan fell at the score of 160. The loss of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara for the addition of just nine more runs brought New Zealand right back into the contest. However, with Daniel Vettori completing his quota of overs, Sri Lanka were able to achieve the target after scoring some easy runs off the part-time bowlers.

Although Sri Lanka managed to win the game quite comfortably in the end, they will be concerned about the loss of wickets in the middle which made the chase far tougher than it was meant to be. Their middle order has hardly been tested in this tournament and there has been only one fifty scored by a lower middle-order batsman (No. 5 to No. 9). In contrast, Pakistani and Indian lower middle-order batsmen have scored four and three fifties respectively.

More stats from the game
Scott Styris moved ahead of Martin Crowe on the list of highest run getters for New Zealand in World Cups. His tally of 900 is now second only to Stephen Fleming's 1075 runs. His half-century was his third fifty-plus score against Sri Lanka in World Cups following his centuries in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup games.

With his haul of 2 for 42, Muttiah Muralitharan moved to within three wickets of equalling Glenn McGrath as the highest wicket taker in World Cups. He now has 68 wickets from 39 matches at an average of 19.05 with four four-wicket hauls.

This was Muralitharan's 39th appearance in World Cups, the highest for a Sri Lankan. He went past Sanath Jayasuriya's record of 38 appearances.

Sri Lanka became the first subcontinent team to reach two consecutive World Cup finals. Overall, this is their third appearance in the final.

With their half-centuries, both Dilshan and Sangakkara went past 400 runs in the World Cup. Dilshan, with 467 runs., leads the run tally in the World Cup so far and Sangakkara is third with 417 runs.


Comments: 7 
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Posted by Randika on (March 30, 2011, 18:31 GMT)

SL are always big game players and they will come good against India on Saturday. However I certainly believe that Silva should be dropped in favor of Kapu to lift our fielding as well as batting. Kula should play as well, maybe at the expense of Herath who has done reasonably well so far

Posted by Lalith on (March 30, 2011, 11:21 GMT)

SL has the best fielding compared to Both PAK & IND. I think that is the difference in the Final.

Posted by Ran on (March 30, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

I agree with Alan. SL have a strong batting lineup. Upul Dilshan amd Sanga are in top 10 run scores of the WC and Mahela ascored 201 runds contrast to Pakistan and India have 3 in top 10. Bolling vise Pak are the best contrast to SL and Indi.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

you do need to give credit to sri lanka's top order. the comparison with pakistan is ludicrous. pakistan may have 3 fifties to sri lanka's 1 in the middle order. but the top 4 of sri lanka have 6 centuries and 7 fifties. Pakistan by contrast has managed 5 fifties. India are admittedly are quite close, but no one needed to tell anyone that they had the best batting line-up in the tournament. Sri lanka would always be looking to make their superior bowling count and their batting exceed itself against india's bowling.

Posted by Waqqas on (March 29, 2011, 22:09 GMT)

And if Pakistan goes through then it will be a fairytale final between murli (the highest wicket taker) and shoaib akhtar (the fastest bowler)... Don't you think so..

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

well done SL.... u deserve the spot in the finals..... & it is going to be an all subcontinent finals, which is awesome.... just to prove the domination by the subcontinent of the sport..... if India gets through then it would be a fairytale final between sachin & murali (leading run scorer & wicket taker in cricket history)

Posted by andrew on (March 29, 2011, 20:59 GMT)

nice work. that table backs up my gut perfectly. NZ lost this game in the last 5-10 overs of their innings.

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