The group was wide open going into the final league game. Sri Lanka needed a win, and New Zealand needed Australia to win by a small margin to qualify.
Group A scenarios: For Australia to qualify they need the use of a time machine to recall the 1993 Ashes squad— The Cricket Geek (@TheCricketGeek) June 17, 2013
Australia's best chance was to try and skittle Sri Lanka for a low score, and then chase it down quickly. In the circumstances, Mitchell Starc's exclusion in favour of Xavier Doherty surprised a few.
Mitchell Johnson was to have an eventful day. He was in action early and made an immediate impact.
Hey Johnson, Severus Snape wants his haircut back. #CT13— Blake Pappas (@Mike_BP_Whitney) June 17, 2013
When asked what he was after by the hairdresser, did Mitchell Johnson say 'please make me look like Adolf Hitler'?— Alec Swann (@RonSwann76) June 17, 2013
Johnson began in typical fashion - two loose deliveries that went for eight runs, and then a straightforward lbw against Kusal Perera.
Perera "Shall I review that?" Dilshan "No mate, you aren't me, Kumar or Mahela"— The Cricket Geek (@TheCricketGeek) June 17, 2013
There was early movement on offer, and soon Kumar Sangakkara was on his way back too.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan batted cautiously to steady Sri Lanka's innings. Dilshan eventually fell to a sharp catch at slip by Shane Watson. His tumble to the right reminded some of a legendary catch from World Cup 2007.
Despite making early inroads into the Sri Lankan middle order, Australia didn't have the bowling to spark a collapse.
Their playing XI may have looked ordinary, but Australia had plenty of class in the dressing room.
Poignant to see Ponting giving David Warner advice on the balcony: "You should have gone for Broad," he advises sagely.— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) June 17, 2013
Once again Mahela Jayawardene began to impose himself on proceedings. He checked in with a series of beautiful strokes.
Jayawardene is one of the most graceful batsmen cricket has seen. He could make a gazelle look ungainly.— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) June 17, 2013
The pressure got to Johnson, whose second spell included a couple of beamers.
David Lloyd on Johnson's action- "It's all effort isn't it?" Yeah to land it on the cut stuff. #ct13— Cameron White (@CamNotWhite) June 17, 2013
He finished with figures of 3 for 42 - not bad for someone who gets so much flak.
He bowls to left , he bowls to the right.. That Mitchell Johnson his bowling is actually alright.....— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) June 17, 2013
Jayawardene's unbeaten 84 lifted Sri Lanka to 253. Australia needed to win in 29.1 overs to qualify. England too were interested in the result, since their group standing, and subsequently their semi-final fixture was subject to change.
After driving to London from Cardiff today I've just seen that if the Aussies get 250 in 29 overs I have to drive back? Is Murali playing?!— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) June 17, 2013
Australia got off to a terrible start, when Shane Watson fell before he could do any damage.
David Warner has just pulled an abdominal muscle, having laughed so hard at Shane Watson's dismissal. #CT13— Stereotypewriter (@babumoshoy) June 17, 2013
But is he pulling his punches? Phil Hughes too departed after a scratchy start, and Australia fell behind very quickly.
If it walks like Australia and talks like Australia and looks like Australia, is it Australia?— Shyam Sundararaman (@shyamuw) June 17, 2013
Worse was to follow. George Bailey ran himself out in atrocious fashion, ambling without intent for what would have been a regulation single, only to be caught short by a direct hit. Michael Clarke looked on from the dressing room.
Michael Clarke had just given George Bailey the MOYES GLARE— Craig Prince (@parkend1878cp) June 17, 2013
@AltCricket As in the walkabout Bailey just went on then?— Nick Frost (@nicholasfrost) June 17, 2013
Thanks to Glenn Maxwell's intent, Australia went along at a good run-rate, but wickets kept falling by the wayside.
what do you know, australia may wrap this up before the 29th over itself! #CT13— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravCNNIBN) June 17, 2013
God. It is like a team of eleven Luke Ronchis in yellow and green uniform. Horrible.— Earl of Vadukut (@sidin) June 17, 2013
At 168 for 8 after 25 overs, the game was only going one way.
Don't think the England bowlers should be practising swinging the bowl for the ashes , it seems the Aussies can't hit the straight ones !— fred flintoff (@flintoff11) June 17, 2013
Someone tell Australia that this is a day night game. #ct13— CharlesWale (@cjwale) June 17, 2013
Australia were well short of the target at the 29.1 over mark, which meant that their title defence ended 14 years after their remarkable resurgence in the greatest ODI of alltime.
Australia's era of ODI dominance included three World Cups and two Champions Trophies in 14 years. That era is well and truly over.— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 17, 2013
But there was more drama in store. No. 10 Clint McKay began resisting in the company of Adam Voges to keep Australia in the hunt for a consolation win.
BREAKING - Clint McKay is taking Dave Warner's place in the top six for the Ashes— The Cricket Geek (@TheCricketGeek) June 17, 2013
Voges departed at 192 for 9, but Xavier Doherty didn't show the nerves of a No. 11. Along with McKay, he began to chip away at the target with nudges and pushes. An Australia win would have put New Zealand into the semis at Sri Lanka's cost.
BREAKING: The ICC has alerted squads that due to an odd quirk in the rules, should AUS win in the 44th over, Ireland would win Group A.— Jamie Harrison (@JamieUSYCA) June 17, 2013
After the T20 style finish to the previous game, this was classic last-wicket Test match defiance.
Dilshan, however, killed New Zealand's hopes with an acrobatic one-handed return catch to dismiss McKay. That meant Sri Lanka would face familiar opponents in the semi-final.
Some times, when we wish hard enough, the universe conspires to give us another India - Sri Lanka game #ct13— Benny (@tracerbullet007) June 17, 2013