Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

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

Semi-elated? Hardly

Sri Lanka march into their second successive final, and the fans are delirious with joy

Guyanga Weerasekera

Comments: 5 | Text size: A | A
An injured Muttiah Muralitharan is given a ride, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 29, 2011
A memorable farewell from Colombo for Murali © AFP
Enlarge
Related Links

Choice of game
For a country where superstar musicians like Bryan Adams and ABBA only come to perform well into their retirement, any place that gathers more than 30,000 people is either a political rally or a cricket match. With no political influence at Kyazoonga, I managed to win two tickets through their ballot process, and then who wouldn't choose this game, eh?

Team supported
Just typing "Sri Lanka" is an understatement. I rooted for SRI LANKA.

World Cup prediction
Sri Lanka have the edge, with good temperament of the top order and the bowling unit.

Key performer
Tillakaratne Dilshan sneaked in with, first a wicket from five overs, and then an important 73.

One thing I'd have changed
Mr Chamara Silva. Tim Southee did the home crowd a favour when he bowled Silva out for a depressing 13 from 25.

Face-off I relished
After Ross Taylor won the Shoaib Akhtar battle, I was waiting for the Taylor-Malinga face-off. Taylor just got one boundary off Malinga and was beaten by Mendis later on. It was not quite what I hoped for.

Wow moment
Jesse Ryder's crazy catch to send Upul Tharanga back. For those few seconds, I forgot which team I was supporting.

Close encounter
Tharanga's family and friends were sitting in front of me, and coincidence or not, the man himself was stationed at the boundary in front of us. He turned to us and waved and the whole section of the crowd went nuts.

Shot of the day
The injured Angelo Mathews' 47th-over six. His lofted on-drive could not have come at a better time. After Silva's lack of heroics, Mathews made the final sprint over the finish line.

Crowd meter
There were some South Africans (who had presumably booked tickets in advance), Pakistanis (probably got the semi-final days mixed up), Indians (because Indians are everywhere) and only about 35,000-odd Sri Lankans. They came in all shapes and sizes, gave the great Murali the biggest cheer he could get when bowling his final over in Colombo. There were some high-profile fans in attendance too, including Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president.

Entertainment
The PA system kept the crowd going, but it was the local papare bands, in full flow, who were the main attraction. If you haven't heard the papare, you haven't been to Sri Lanka.

ODIs v Twenty20
The ODI is like a ten-course meal, while Twenty20 is like KFC. An ODI requires technique, talent and temperament, whereas a Twenty20 only needs Yusuf Pathan. ODIs are Mercedes Benzes where the Twenty20 is a Subaru STI.

Bye bye Colombo
I'm definitely going to miss the World Cup action in Colombo. I truly believe this was the best World Cup so far. It had its fair share of upsets, but the favourites pulled through. Paring future World Cups down to 10 teams will only hurt the game; 12 should be ideal: divided into four groups of three, with two teams qualifying from each group to play the quarter-finals.

Now I can't wait for the Twenty20 action to begin here next year.

Marks out of 10
8.5. Dilshan, Murali, Sangakkara and Ryder were largely responsible.

Overall
A World Cup semi-final, with the host team in full flow - what more can we ask for? Great fielding kept the Kiwis in the contest till the last few minutes, and in the end Sri Lanka pulled through. An unmatchable World Cup experience.

Want to do a Fan Following report? Read our FAQ here

Guyanga Weerasekera, 20, is more of a tennis player than a cricketer, but living in Sri Lanka means it is hard to not be a cricket fan. He has represented Sri Lanka at the Davis Cup and other international tennis tournaments. He is currently reading for a BSc Business through the external system of University of London. He owes his cricket analytical skills to his father, Deepal

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 5 
Posted by   on (March 31, 2011, 4:15 GMT)

Good one, Guyanga! Spot on with the analysis.

Posted by randika_ayya on (March 30, 2011, 18:22 GMT)

Please Please bring in Kapu for the finals for Silva. His sheer brilliance in the field may be the difference against a batting heavy Indian side. Plus he has fond memories of scoring 2 sixes off the last 2 deliveries against India to win a match and to take SL to a WC T20 final very recently. Nehra would remember that for certain :)

Posted by Cannuck on (March 30, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

Couldn't agree with you more KURUWITA! I was not a big fan of KAPU being selected because he hasn't done much. But after seing Silva struggle, I would take an not in form KAPU any day. At least he will hit the ball, rather than trying to edge it, sweep it & pile up dot balls for pressure. NZ did us a favour by removing Silva, or we could have lost it too. So bring in KAPU, as he can bowl and field as well. But I hardly doubt they's change anything at this stage... Either way Go Sri Lanka!!! Bring the cup home!

Posted by lananad on (March 30, 2011, 12:57 GMT)

please bring Kapugedara for Silva.This is a must if SL to win WC.Kapu's brilliants on the field would be a great asset. Also he is fresh and all ready to go. you need that since some of the key players are not 100% fit.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (March 30, 2011, 10:06 GMT)

We all are going to miss the Legend Murali. Black Caps played very well with limited resources they had. I think we need to bring in Perera or Kapu for Silva.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email this page to a friend Email Feedback Feedback Print Print
More in Fan Following
  • This time for Sri Lanka
    A fitting finale to what's been a fine exhibition of T20 cricket. Well played Sri Lanka
  • Save our hearing please
    The cricket was fine despite the storm. If only the emcee had turned down the volume on them loudspeakers
  • Selfies don't save Bangladesh
    It was a limp end to the home team's campaign, though the DJ temporarily raised spirits by playing a Miles number
  • Heartache in Dhaka
    Flying halfway across the world to watch Bangladesh play? It can be painful
  • Frustration unlimited
    It's hard to remain a loyal Bangladesh fan when the team continues to disappoint
RSS FeedAll
  • ESPN
  • ESPNF1
  • Scrum
  • Soccernet