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New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Group C, Johannesburg

Jayasuriya stars in Sri Lankan win

Dileep Premachandran

September 15, 2007

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Sri Lanka 168 for 3 (Jayasuriya 61, Jayawardene 35 not out) beat New Zealand 164 for 7 (Taylor 62, Oram 33 not out) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

Sanath Jayasuriya's 61 helped Sri Lanka beat New Zealand to finish on top of Group C in the ICC World Twenty20 © Getty Images
The new-ball bowlers bowled canny spells to set the game up, and despite a swashbuckling 62 from Ross Taylor, it was Sri Lanka that romped to an seven-wicket victory at the Wanderers to maintain their perfect record in the competition, and illustrate just why they are so highly favoured to go all the way. Once again, it was Sanath Jayasuriya that blazed the trail with a punishing 44-ball 61, and there was a delightful cameo of 37 at the end from Mahela Jayawardene as New Zealand were contemptuously swept aside.

Their poor outing was encapsulated by Shane Bond, who was clattered for 45 from his four overs while also dropping Jayasuriya off successive balls, the second a sitter at mid-on when he had made 40. Upul Tharanga contributed a sparkling 37 as the match was effectively sealed within the first seven overs of the Lankan innings.

Jayasuriya got off the mark with a streaky four down to third man off Bond, but there was nothing fortuitous about strokes that raced to the rope at backward point, square leg and long-off. Bond had a wretched outing against Sri Lanka in the World Cup semi-final at Sabina Park and it was reprised here with Tharanga carving him through cover and then top-edging a six over fine leg.

There was also an astonishing flat-batted six over cover off Chris Martin and a rude welcome for Mark Gillespie, who followed figures of 4 for 7 against Kenya with an opening over that went for 20 as Jayasuriya nonchalantly clipped consecutive sixes behind square on the leg side.

By the time Tharanga was caught in the deep off Daniel Vettori, the chase had become a near-formality. Vettori and Scott Styris stemmed the tide somewhat, and with Kumar Sangakkara taking 17 balls to strike his first and only four, the run-rate slowly mounted. But the moment Sangakkara pulled Styris to deep square leg, New Zealand's fate was sealed, as Jayawardene came in and played a succession of gorgeous shots.

The chip over mid-off to get off the mark was impudent and a cut for four off Bond and a massive loft over midwicket off Jacob Oram just glorious. Jayasuriya fell to Vettori with just seven needed, trying to repeat an earlier six over long-on, but Jayawardene saw it home with seven balls to spare.

Ross Taylor 's 62 powered New Zealand to 164 © Getty Images

Earlier, Taylor and Peter Fulton had given the New Zealand innings impetus after Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando had varied their pace beautifully to keep the runs down in the initial exchanges. There were no hits to the outer, and Brendan McCullum, dropped at cover and short fine leg, couldn't capitalise on his good fortune either, miscuing a pull straight to Lasith Malinga at backward square leg.

Lou Vincent, who also struggled to power the ball away, followed soon after, lofting a full toss over Fernando's head for Chamara Silva to run across from mid-off and take the catch. But once Fulton got going with a huge swing over the leg side for six, the innings started to gather some momentum.

Vaas had bowled superbly right through his spell but his figures were ruined somewhat by Fulton cleverly flicking one down to fine leg for another six. But it was the Gayan Wijekoon, fairly new to international cricket, who was targetted ruthlessly as New Zealand upped the ante. Taylor effortlessly lofted him over midwicket for the first of three sixes, and the run-rate was close to nine by the time Fulton made room for himself, only to swat a Wijekoon delivery straight to Malinga at deep cover.

Malinga was introduced only in the 13th over, and proved rather difficult to get away. The pressure he built up claimed Craig McMillan, run out going for a quick single. By then, New Zealand had also lost Styris, unlucky to be given out leg before by Daryl Harper off Sanath Jayasuriya.

Oram got going with a deft reverse-sweep, and a huge straight six off Malinga, but the star of the show was undoubtedly Taylor, who found the gaps and ran hard during a sensational knock that ended only with a thin edge through to Kumar Sangakkara. Vettori, who had elected to bat on a pitch where most prefer to chase, thwacked Wijekoon for a six over backward point, but a last-ball run out left Sri Lanka with a chase that proved to be a Bullring stroll for Jayasuriya and friends.

Dileep Premachandran is associate editor of Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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