NZ v SL, Group B, World Twenty20 2010, Providence April 30, 2010

Sri Lanka pay for small mistakes


Sri Lanka were the most consistent team in last year's World Twenty20, moving into the final unbeaten before falling to an inspired Pakistan outfit at Lord's. This time they are left knowing only a victory against Zimbabwe will keep them in the tournament, and even then it will require a nervous wait for the outcome of the final match in the group.

The game against New Zealand was always a nip-and-tuck affair although Sri Lanka had the bowling attack to defend 135. When the spinners strangled the middle of the chase it looked as though they would do just that, but on this occasion Lasith Malinga's skills at the death weren't quite up to their best.

"You'd probably back him more times than not," said coach Trevor Bayliss. "Having said that, it shouldn't have got down to the last over and all being on Lasith's shoulders. It's certainly not his fault."

It wasn't the happiest of afternoons for Malinga, who missed two run-out chances in the field. A wild throw from Malinga at point in the sixth over meant Kumar Sangakkara couldn't gather the ball, then in the final over he missed an underarm flick towards the stumps from a couple of yards away with Daniel Vettori stranded. In the end, the small errors added up for Sri Lanka.

"We were a little off our game in most departments," said Bayliss. "Our batting didn't score as many runs in the first six overs as we normally do, our fielding could have been a bit better. It wasn't too bad, but not quite good enough at this level."

This was never likely to be a high-scoring match, but Sri Lanka's lack of early momentum with the bat had allowed New Zealand an early hold on the game. After six overs they were 36 for 1 and 30 of those had come from the blade of the promoted Mahela Jaywardene, opening for the first time in a Twenty20 international. At the other end the going had been much tougher.

Tillakaratne Dilshan has come into this tournament amid much hype after his prolific form over the last year, but he struggled during the IPL with 44 runs from six innings before being dropped by Delhi Daredevils. His lack of touch was soon apparent as he couldn't get the ball off the square against the combination of Nathan McCullum's offspin and Shane Bond's pace. When he fell for 3 from 19 deliveries - the slowest strike-rate for a Sri Lanka Twenty20 innings - Jayawardene, who was in supreme IPL form despite Kings XI Punjab's poor event, had 30 from 15.

"Every batter goes through a bit of a lean trot," said Bayliss. "In the last 18 months Dilshan has been unbelievable and you can't have that sort of form and not be able to score runs. I'm sure in the next game or two we'll see the best of him."

And Bayliss also had a very simple answer to how Sri Lanka will approach the tournament from here. "If we win every game from here we'll be champions." But there's no room for anymore mistakes. undefined

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ben on May 3, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    As I said in previous post, how many times SL team defended respectable today with world class bowlers like Murali, Ajantha, Malinga, Sanath, Mathew under the captaincy of Sanga. It is time for you to get some lesions from experienced members of the team (or ex captains) how to change field and bowlers during an important innings. It is never too late. Good luck sanga and the rest. We still want you guys to win this world cup. Because you got the best team SL has ever produce

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    Don't give up Sana. you will get a chance to prove that you are the BEST. it seem Sanga has some issue with you. he has forgotten how u save in the past, if you didn't save him in 2003 world cup, today there will no Sanga in SL team.

  • Binoy on May 1, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    I definetely agree that Sanga was no good yesterday, and at one point his keeping even started to suck! I think against Zimababwe Sanath should open because Zimbabwe beat Aus and Pak so they can do serious damage! So against Zim i think sanath would do well because he naturally thinks that he'll have an edge over them so he'll attack, but then on the other side mahela will be there telling him to stay calm, so there'll be a good balance, but lets just hope Sri Lanka can pull themselves out of this mess!

  • Amila on May 1, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    This is caused by the real poor captaincy from Sanga. He hasn't given the ball to the right ballers at the end. Mathews was the baller who could do better than welagedara. Sanga misread it. Another totally poor decision is that Jayasuriya was not given any chance to bat on. Before Mathews or Kapugedara, jayasuriya could have goven the opportunity to bat. All others are right handers except for Sanga and Jayasuriya. That was a real help for the bowlers to ball in correct spot. Really poor decision by Sanga. Eventhough Jayasuriya not batted he has done his role well and over where sanga has expected. Jayasuriya balled & filelded well briliantly eventhoug not batted. Well done Sana. My suggestion is to give the chance to Jayasuriya to open with Mahela and pass Dilshan to No 3. Then it will be real good batting line up.I think sanga has some issue with Sanath and that's why he is trying to dishonour master blaster like Sanath Jayasuriya. One day he will prove. All the best Sana.

  • shane on May 1, 2010, 15:21 GMT

    This defeat is nothing but display of poor captaincy of sanga… he completely got it wrong in 16th and 19th overs NZ got the momentum that they needed specially 19th over despite the wickets,wellergdara has only bowled second over of the match and he's given 19th over that's to much for a new comer.& its obvious on a dying track welegedera is easy to pic than Mathews, What happened to the Mathews???he bowled only 2 overs With one meden. He should have easily replaced @leest for 16th or 19th over. Most ridicules part is that he wants to get rid of Sanath out of the team if he done that NZ would have won the match around 15th over. Sanga is a unarguably the best batsman S/L has but his captaincy remain a question it seems he's not learning from the mistakes with his dum high attitude/ S/L has a wonderfully talented team but it require clever captaincy to extract that talent to counties interest. 2011 world cup is a big question with this sort of a poor captaincy..

  • Minura on May 1, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    sri lanka would make life harder for other teams in the competition...with the spinners available they have a good chance of taking the trophy back home which they missed last year.. i think dilshan should be given one more chance to find form and i think sanath should bat after chandimal followed by kapugedara and mathews... also looking at the circumstances randhiv could be slid into the team in place of welagedara due to the flexibility sri lanka has with the inclution of mathews as a fast bowling all rounder where he and randhiv could open the bowling for sri lanka..

  • sachit on May 1, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    It was a disappointing day for SL. The batting didn't click but with that bowling attack the score was defend-able. But that's T-20 the margin for error is small. The turning point of the match IMHO is surprisingly Scott Styris's wicket, Sri Lanka didn't help themselves by dismissing him, he was struggling to get going- another over of Styris Batting would have put the game equation out of NZ's reach. Orams 2 Big blows gave NZ a glimmer of hope, and one more mistake i saw was not giving Over # 19 to Matthews- with the keeper standing up. For the second time running SL find themselves in a tough group. The lesser team in the group Zimbabwe are miles ahead of the other "minnows" Ireland,Bangladesh,Afghanistan. A tough game beckons against ZIM- who have dangerous batters like Mazakadsa, Chigumbura in their ranks plus a host of slow bowlers - the batting will have to fire maybe chandimal should open.

  • Andrew on May 1, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    Well done new zealand everyone keeps wrighting you off but when it counts new zealand are hard to beat

  • Duminda on April 30, 2010, 23:52 GMT

    For the Country's Sake send Jaya as an Openerm He had the best bowling figures and he will save Sri Lanka.

    Sanaga you seems to be having an issue with Him,

  • Dummy4 on April 30, 2010, 23:10 GMT

    Well played Srilanka, whatever mistakes done were enlarged by the nature of the pitch. Apart from Malinga missing two run out chances, the fielding was superb. Actually, fielding defended the small target supplementing some good bowling efforts by Sanath Jayasuriya and Muralitharan. Malinga has proved his worth in the death overs, again.

    Overall, Srilanka was upto the mark and would have won lest NL MuCullum lofted twice. But cricket is not for ifs and but, its for luck and opportunities that decide.

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