So Sri Lanka enter their second World Cup final (after the memorable one in 1996). New Zealand fail to cross the semi-final stage for the fifth time in World Cups but when they reflect on today they will look back at a truly outstanding knock by Mahela Jayawardene, probably the defining innings of the tournament.
Once Sri Lanka had made 289, New Zealand didn't have much of a chance, especially with the pitch taking turn and Sri Lanka posessing a varied attack. Muralitharan teased and tormented with 4 for 31 while Malinga and Vaas turned in excellent support acts. New Zealand had a chance at 100 for 2 but a collapse of sorts left them high and dry.
Andrew chimes in: "Everyone streaming to the exits already, although the Sri Lankan drummers are still going bonkers below me"
Murali: "Wicket turned a bit and Mahela played a brilliant innings so that made us win the match. When he played very slowly, I thought he's going for the big one and in the end it was one of the brilliant hundreds. I'm bowling really well, bowling from around the wicket helps me a lot. Thr right-hander can't see which way the ball is going."
Stephen Fleming: "It's disappointing but they've got some big game players and a couple of mistakes can hurt you. We thought the last ten overs was an area we were good at but that let us down. We missed McMIllan and Styris in the field, the toss might have been little but important but I still don't think it would have changed the result the way they played."
Mahela Jayawardene, the Man of the Match: "We played some good cricket and we stuck to the basics. It's a big game but it's another cricket match. We believe in our batting line-up, Sanath has been in good form and all the others have chipped in as well. I'm pretty happy with my hundred, I knew I had to stay there for long. I just wanted to make sure I batted 50 overs."
So that's it from us for the first semi-final. Thanks for joining me, Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, and Jamie Alter for the occassion. Good night and good luck.
Samarth: "well said Thushan, lots of Indians have been dissapointed with their country's low quality performance, and they are relating the whole tournament to the country's performance.. but full marks to sri lanka.. they have kept the tournament alive. the only worthy candidates to beat australia. I hope they bat first in the finals"
Richard LePage is in a cheeky mood. "Fleming should have made Patel and Franklin to open the innings, we would have atleast given a respectable fight."
Jayasuriya comes into the attack. Can he finish it off? Will he succeed where Murali, Malinga and Dilshan have failed?
Thushan disagrees strongly about the quality of the tournament. "In response to Ajay Singh: "low quality? Perhaps you're forgetting the Sri Lanka vs. England thriller, the Ireland vs. Zimbabwe tie, and Malinga's 4 in 4 against South Africa. The only thing "low quality" about this World Cup has been the ICC's planning (or should I say, money-making) efforts...and perhaps...India's performance."