Australia v Sri Lanka, World Cup final, Barbados

Road to the final

George Binoy

April 27, 2007

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After 50 matches of sifting the rest from the best, we've finally arrived at the grand finale, with Australia taking on Sri Lanka. Cricinfo traces the paths of the two teams to the summit clash.



Matthew Hayden has scored 621 runs so far in the World Cup at a strike-rate of over 100 © Getty Images
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Australia

Although Australia won ten out of ten matches on course to their second consecutive World Cup trophy in 2003, they were at least stretched by New Zealand, England and to a certain extent Pakistan. However, there's been none of that this time. Australia have flattened all opponents en route to the 2007 final. Their lowest score while batting first has been 322 for 6, three of their bowlers are among the top four wicket-takers of the tournament, and Matthew Hayden is the leading run-scorer with 621 runs hammered at a strike-rate of 104. Michael Hussey, their No 6 batsman, has hardly been needed, facing only 116 balls in the tournament.

Group Stages

Australia 334 for 6 (Ponting 113, Hayden 60) beat Scotland 131 (Smith 51, McGrath 3-14) by 203 runs
Scorecard
Scotland chose to field first and Ricky Ponting made them regret it by smashing 113 off 93 balls to boost Australia to 334. Glenn McGrath mopped up by taking 3 for 14, ominous signs of what was to come.

Australia 358 for 5 (Hodge 123, Clarke 93*, Gilchrist 57) beat Netherlands 129 (Hogg 4-27) by 229 runs
Scorecard
Brad Hodge, who was playing only because Andrew Symonds hadn't fully recovered from surgery, clobbered 123 off 89 balls with Michael Clarke contributing 93. Brad Hogg bamboozled the Dutch and picked up 4 for 27. Symonds returned for the next game and Hodge hasn't batted since.

Australia 377 for 6 (Hayden 101, Ponting 91, Clarke 92) beat South Africa 294 (de Villiers 92, Smith 74) by 83 runs
Scorecard
This was the closest Australia ever came to looking like getting beaten in the World Cup. Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers raced off in pursuit of 378 and had reached 160 in the 21st over before de Villiers was run out by a direct hit by Shane Watson from the deep square leg fence. South Africa's chase was irreparably derailed by Jacques Kallis's super-slow 48 and Graeme Smith's cramps. Earlier Matthew Hayden had belted the fastest hundred in the World Cup, off 66 balls.

Super Eights

Australia 322 for 6 (Hayden 158) beat West Indies 219 (Lara 77) by 103 runs
Scorecard
Preferring to chase, West Indies put Australia in and bowled 18 balls to Hayden without letting him get off the mark. He got out 125 balls later, having bludgeoned 158 to take Australia to 322. West Indies lost three wickets inside ten overs and the match as a contest was over.

Australia 106 for 0 (Gilchrist 59*, Hayden 47*) beat Bangladesh 104 for 6 (Mortaza 25*, Saqibul 25, Bashar 24, McGrath 3-16) by 10 wickets
Scorecard
This was the only game in which Glenn McGrath and co failed to dismiss their opponents but they did manage six wickets after rain reduced the match to 22 overs a side. Bangladesh tried to be over-aggressive and McGrath cashed in with 3 for 16. Hayden and Gilchrist blasted 106 in 13.5 overs to seal a ten-wicket win.



Glenn McGrath is the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, and has taken a wicket in his first over on six occasions © Getty Images
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Australia 248 for 3 (Ponting 86, Clarke 55*) beat England 247 (Pietersen 104, Bell 77) by seven wickets
Scorecard
Australia's fast bowlers - Bracken, Tait and McGrath - shared three wickets apiece as they dismissed England for 247 in spite of Kevin Pietersen's hundred. Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke paced the chase perfectly and the target was achieved in the 48th over with seven wickets in hand - as easy as taking candy from a child.

Australia 92 for 1 (Gilchrist 34, Hussey 30*) beat Ireland 91 (McGrath 3-17, Tait 3-39)
Scorecard
Ireland had shown tremendous fighting spirit so far in the World Cup but Australia put the minnows in their place with a ruthless victory. McGrath led the decimation with 3 for 17 and Ireland were knocked over for 91. Australia used the opportunity to open with Michael Hussey to give him some batting practice and he responded with an unbeaten 30.

Australia 232 for 3 (Ponting 66*, Symonds 63*) beat Sri Lanka 226 (Jayawardene 72, Silva 64, Bracken 4-19) by 7 wickets
Scorecard
Sri Lanka shielded their three strike bowlers from the Australian batsmen and their batsmen crumbled under the unrelenting pressure of the Australian attack. Bracken was the chief-destroyer taking 4 for 19. Chasing 232, Australia cruised home in the 43rd over with Symonds making 63 in his first real chance to play a meaningful innings.

Australia 348 for 6 (Hayden 103, Ponting 66, Watson 65*) beat New Zealand 133 (Fulton 62, Hogg 4-29) by 215 runs
Scorecard
Hayden scored his third hundred of the World Cup - a feat performed only by Mark Waugh in 1996 and Sourav Ganguly in 2003. Shane Watson, returning from an injury, clubbed 65 off 32 balls to power Australia to 348 for 6. Brad Hogg took 4 for 29 as New Zealand were routed by 215 runs, their worst defeat in one-day internationals.

Semi-final

Australia 153 for 3 (Clarke 60*, Hayden 41) beat South Africa 149 (Kemp 49*, Tait 4-39, McGrath 3-18) by seven wickets
Scorecard
A hugely anticipated high-voltage clash turned into a damp squib after Australia knocked off five South African wickets for 27 runs inside ten overs. McGrath took his tally to 25 wickets and went past Chaminda Vaas' record for most wickets in a World Cup. Michael Clarke's sublime skill ensured that Australia marched into their fourth consecutive World Cup final.

Sri Lanka

Unlike the other subcontinent teams, India and Pakistan, whose performances appeared, burdened by off-field controversies, Sri Lanka were thoroughly professional and yet filled their game with a school-boyish enthusiasm that was a delight to watch. They finished on top of Group B with three wins out of three and comfortably qualified for the semi-finals with wins over West Indies, England, New Zealand and Ireland. They booked their tickets to Barbados with an emphatic victory against New Zealand in the semi-final. Their route to the final, however, has not been without a hiccup or two, the major worry being Kumar Sangakkara's form at No 3.

Group Stages



Lasith Malinga's pace delivered with his slingy acton has been more than some teams could handle © Getty Images
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Sri Lanka 321 for 6 (Jayawardene 85, Sangakkara 76, Silva 55*) beat Bermuda 78 (Maharoof 4-23, Malinga 3-10) by 243 runs
Scorecard
After losing to New Zealand in a warm-up game, Bermuda provided the opportunity for Sri Lanka to register a massive victory and build their momentum. They batted first, stacked up 321 for 6 and then blew Bermuda away for 78. Farveez Maharoof was the unlikely wrecker-in-chief with 4 for 23.

Sri Lanka 318 for 4 (Jayasuriya 109) beat Bangladesh 112 by 198 runs (D-L method)
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After thrashing India, Bangladesh would have taken a lot of confidence into the match against Sri Lanka but Sanath Jayasuriya thwarted any hopes of a second upset by caning 109 off 87 balls. Sri Lanka piled up 318 for 4 and then dismissed Bangladsh for 112 in 37 overs with Lasith Malinga picking up 3 for 27.

Sri Lanka 254 for 6 (Tharanga 64, Silva 59) beat India 185 (Dravid 60) by 69 runs
Scorecard
Sri Lanka had already qualified for the next round but they needed to beat India to take two points into the Super Eights. Their three most experienced batsmen came a cropper but Upul Tharanga, Chamara Sliva and Russel Arnold spurred Sri Lanka to 254 for 6. Then Muttiah Muralitharan unveiled his outrageous ploy of pitching his doosras outside leg stump to the right-handers from round the wicket and trying to bowl them around their legs. The Indians were beaten in the mind well before they lost on the pitch.

Super Eights

South Africa 212 for 9 (Kallis 86, Smith 59, Malinga 4-54) beat Sri Lanka 209 (Dilshan 58, Arnold 50, Langeveldt 5-39) by one wicket
Scorecard
Chasing 210 for victory, South Africa needed four runs to win in five overs with five wickets in hand, including Jacques Kallis batting on 86. Enter Malinga who creates history by ripping out four wickets in four balls to leave South Africa stunned. Robin Peterson's outside edge denied Sri Lanka victory by the barest of margins.

Sri Lanka 303 for 5 (Jayasuriya 115, Jayawardene 82) beat West Indies 190 (Chanderpaul 76, Jayasuriya 3-38) by 113 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The old firm of Jayasuriya and Jayawardene stacked up Sri Lanka's third 300-plus total of the World Cup. Jayasuriya's 115 was a savage innings that included four sixes and spanned 101 balls before fatigue, more than anything else, brought about his dismissal. Sri Lanka kept Chris Gayle on a leash and had the game in the bag after dismissing Brian Lara in the eleventh over.



Mahela Jayawardene has been inspirational both as a captain and a batsman for Sri Lanka © Getty Images
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Sri Lanka 235 (Tharanga 62, Jayawardene 56, Flintoff 3-35) beat England 233 for 8 (Pietersen 58, Bopara 52, Bell 47, Fernando 3-41) by two runs
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Dilhara Fernando's composure in the final over, earned Sri Lanka a nail biting win over England. Though Sri Lanka only compiled a modest 236, England's middle-order fell away meekly before a thrilling fightback from Paul Nixon and Ravi Bopara. With three needed off the final ball, Fernando bowled Bopara to give Sri Lanka the better side of a tense rubber.

Sri Lanka 222 for 4 (Jayasuriya 64, Sangakkara 69*) beat New Zealand 219 for 7 (Styris 111*) by six wickets
Scorecard
Chaminda Vaas dismissed Stephen Fleming and Ross Taylor for ducks to give Sri Lanka the perfect start to a vital Super Eights clash. Scott Styris battled hard from 4 for 2 but his hundred could take New Zealand only to 219, a target that Jayasurya and Sangakkara knocked off with ease.

Australia 232 for 3 (Ponting 66*, Symonds 63*) beat Sri Lanka 226 (Jayawardene 72, Silva 64, Bracken 4-19) by 7 wickets
Scorecard
Even before it came to pass, Sri Lanka v Australia was billed as the dress-rehearsal for the final. But the lure of the contest was lost once Jayawardene surprised all by resting Vaas, Muralitharan and Malinga, who was recovering from injury. Whether their ploy will pay dividends in the final remains to be seen for Australia simply rolled over their batsmen in the Super Eights encounter.

Sri Lanka 81 for 2 (Jayawardene 39*) beat Ireland 77 (Muralitharan 4-19, Maharoof 4-25) by eight wickets
Scorecard
Maharoof ripped through Ireland's top order and Muralitharan tormented the tail but the end was swift and clinical for Ireland. Dismissed for a paltry 77, they wilted as Jayasuriya and Jayawardene cantered to victory in the tenth over.

Semi-final

Sri Lanka 289 for 5 (Jayawardene 115*, Tharanga 73) beat New Zealand 208 (Fulton 46, Muralitharan 4-31) by 81 runs
Scorecard
Mahela Jayawardene produced a masterclass when it was most needed as Sri Lanka claimed their rightful place in the final by brushing aside New Zealand. The 81-run win was Mahela's baby, but Upul Tharanga played his part, as did Muttiah Muralitharan, who picked up 4 for 31 and spun New Zealand out for only 208

George Binoy is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
Related Links
World Cup 2007 statistics : Numbers point to an Australian hat-trick
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Cup
Tournament Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Bridgetown - Apr 28, 2007
Australia won by 53 runs (D/L method)
Australia v South Africa at Gros Islet - Apr 25, 2007
Australia won by 7 wickets (with 111 balls remaining)
New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Kingston - Apr 24, 2007
Sri Lanka won by 81 runs
West Indies v England at Bridgetown - Apr 21, 2007
England won by 1 wicket (with 1 ball remaining)
Australia v New Zealand at St George's - Apr 20, 2007
Australia won by 215 runs
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days