Ireland v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Grenada April 18, 2007

Scalping, spraying and smashing



Farveez Maharoof changed his line and reeled them in © AFP
Readjustment of the Day
Farveez Maharoof couldn't quite get it right when he entered the attack in the eighth over. His first ball from over the wicket was sprayed onto the pads and flicked for four; the second was too wide outside off and creamed through the covers. So Maharoof did what any self-respecting bowler would do in the circumstances. He came round the wicket instead and scalped three wickets with his next four balls of the over. At 28 for 3, the game was already up.

Catch of the Day
Kumar Sangakkara has been off-colour with the bat in recent weeks, but he hasn't let that affect all facets of his game. The third of Maharoof's three wickets in the over was entirely the work of his wicketkeeper, who had been leaning towards leg when Eoin Morgan was squared up by one that straightened and found a thin nick. Sangakkara sprung to his left, and plucked one-handed with the ball almost behind him as he dived. Thrilling stuff.

Fielder of the Day
It was hard to keep Maharoof out of the action. Aside from his four wickets he put down two catches - a sharp return slap off Niall O'Brien that he could only parry with his left hand, and a simpler sliding effort in the deep off Dave Langford-Smith. But in between whiles he pulled off an astounding piece of reaction work, reminiscent of Roger Harper against Graham Gooch in the MCC Bicentenary match in 1987. Stooping in his followthrough as Trent Johnston punched down the ground, he grabbed the ball and pinged down the stumps in one fluid motion, via the thinnest of deflections off Johnston's boot. It all happened so quickly, it was the sort of dismissal that really should have gone down as "Stumped & Bowled".

Inevitability of the Day
Muttiah Muralitharan, refreshed from his break against Australia, showed why he was recently nominated by Wisden as the leading cricketer in the world. All the Irish pluck in the world was no match for his helicopter wrist, as he struck three times in his first seven deliveries and once more after that, for figures of 4 for 19 from five overs. His genius has been rather hidden under a bushel in this tournament, but he'll be a force like few others come the semi-finals.

Innings of the Day
Langford-Smith was one of the few Irish tailenders who refused to stand on ceremony. As his colleagues were scythed down indiscriminately by Murali and Maharoof, he stood proud and smacked boldly through the line, connecting sweetly with two fleet-footed fours and a massive six over midwicket. Good work that slogger.

Cheer of the Day
With 12 wickets in nine matches, the lanky Boyd Rankin has been one of the indisputable stars of Ireland's World Cup campaign, and his first-over dismissal of Upul Tharanga - caught cutting to point - was a moment to savour. Though there was nothing Ireland could do but delay the inevitable, his incision - and that of Langford-Smith three overs later - ensured that the surrender would not be absolute.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo