At R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, July 27, 2004 (day/night). India won by four runs. India
5 pts, Sri Lanka 1 pt. Toss: India.
The situation for India was simple. Win, and they were in the final; lose, and Pakistan (assuming
they beat Bangladesh) would play Sri Lanka instead. Preparing the team sheet was more
challenging: the match started seven minutes late after Ganguly inadvertently included Ashish
Nehra rather than Harbhajan Singh, but Atapattu sportingly agreed to the last-minute change. India
then stacked up a handsome 271, Sehwag firing for the first time in the tournament, if in unusually
measured style. India seemed set for 300 while he and Ganguly were sharing a 134-run stand,
though they went off the boil in the slog overs. Jayasuriya then carried Sri Lanka to within touching
distance of a remarkable victory with 130 from 132 balls. However, on a crumbling surface
Ganguly persisted with his part-time slow bowlers, especially Sehwag and his off-spin. Extracting
sharp turn, Sehwag broke a 103-run stand between Jayasuriya and Dilshan to leave Sri Lanka
needing 35 off 37 balls. Then, with 18 required from 18, Sehwag caught and bowled an exhausted
Jayasuriya. It came down to 11 off the last over, and the cool-headed Zaheer Khan held his nerve.
Man of the Match: V. Sehwag.
© John Wisden & Co