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Sri Lanka easily roll New Zealand to book final spot


Turns out Sri Lanka easily accounted for New Zealand in the first World Cup semifinal (not to blow my own horn but I did call it weeks ago). Sri Lanka set a strong target of 5 for 289, led by Jayawardene's 115 not out. Jayasuriya was dismissed cheaply for 1 so it shows Sri Lanka do have the batting depth if he fails.

It was Sri Lanka's bowling where they dominated - as to be expected as they do boast arguably the best ODI bowling lineup in the world. Malinga is in great form, swinging the ball late and stifling New Zealand from the outset. From there Murali wreaked his customary damage in the middle overs, taking 4 for 31. The Black Caps eventually fell for 208, 81 runs shy of the target.

So assuming Australia defeat South Africa tonight (I'll be weeping tears of blood if I stay up all night only to watch them lose a semi-final), Sri Lanka's strategy to rest Murali and Vaas is looking brilliant (if unsportsmanlike). The Aussies may bluster about how we've already seen plenty of Murali and Vaas over the years. But not in these conditions. Can our batsmen adjust to them over the short time of a one day innings? Then there's the slinging Tait-like action of Malinga (or should I say Malinga-like action of Tait). He's hitting form at just the right time and I'm not sure the Aussies have ever faced him. I'm eagerly anticipating seeing how the in-form Hayden and Ponting handle Sri Lanka's three spearheads (knock wood, there's a semi-final to get through first).
Posted by JC on Wed 25 Apr 76 comments
This is what Murali had to say after the match:
"I'm bowling really well, bowling from around the wicket helps me a lot. The right-hander can't see which way the ball is going."

I guess that's why SL "rested" Murali - so Ponting and co wouldn't get a feel for the angles. It would be imposssible to reproduce that out on the pitch angle from video so they didn't want Ponting, Symonds and the other right handers to adapt.

It's a cpmpliement I guess - they feel the Aussies would adapt more quickly!

As for Malinga - I think the Uassies have only faced him in 2004 at a Top End test series, which was a while ago so have the team probably haven't had a look at him. Plus he's improved a lot since then.

But first we have to get through the semis!
Posted by MT on 2007-04-25 09:11:40
Ah yes, I forgot about Murali's new killer trajectory. So they're definitely keeping their ace up their sleeve, waiting to unleash him in the final. Intriguing stuff. In fact, I think the only interesting thing (on the field at least) that has happened all World Cup.
Posted by JC on 2007-04-25 10:06:02
Was really hoping for an ANZAC final. Who knows, it may just be the Sri Lankans v South Africa. Which raises an interesting point about the format of the World Cup. We've played near flawless cricket, the only country to do so. One bad innings, even a bad ten minutes, could see us out of the running, despite having been head and shoulders above the opposition all competition.
Posted by Dan Tas on 2007-04-25 12:30:18
That's the nature of sporting tournaments - and a big reason why Australia do so well - they seem to rise to the big occasions.
Posted by JC on 2007-04-25 13:54:19
I'm an avid NZ sports fan who was disappointed with the lame way that the kiwis lost their semi-final against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka are a class team and deserved to win, I'm sure they will equip themselves very well in the final. Unfortunately, it was appalling to see that Murali claimed a 'catch' to dismiss Jacob Oram that looked extremely dodgy. This catch turned the match and without being too bias looked like Murali had cheated. The replays indicate that the ball hit the ground and Murali even admitted himself that he wasnot sure if he caught it in post-match interviews. I hope the Aussies spank these guys as it's annoying to see cheats get away with blatant unsportmanlike behaviour. Bummer it isn't a Kiwi-Oz final, anyway go the Aussies!
Posted by dirtybird on 2007-04-25 18:25:17
Dirtybird I thought the exact same thing, and the zoom in image they showed later didn't ease my concerns.

It looked like the ball had already hit the ground and Murali was never really in control, while the ball was being juggled and he never had his hand under the ball, the final "catch" was grabbed from the side.
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