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Sri Lanka home after minor scare

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March 29, 2011

22:29  Scorecard:

Angelo and Samaraweera see off Sri Lanka in the 48th over.

In the end the two Jesse Ryder overs cost New Zealand a game in which they had no business surviving till the 48th over.
22:23  Scorecard:

Angelo Mathews walked in with a strained thigh. And he was in no mood for any more drama as he swung one from the slot over the mid on fence, and then hit another straight back over the bowler's head for four.
22:18  Scorecard:

Andy McKay gift wraps 5 wides as he fires one down the leg side that runs away for four!!

A huge appeal and a review follow, but to no avail.

22:10  Scorecard:

A bad throw from the deep had Brendon McCullum blinded momentarily, as the batsmen sneak a third run on overthrow.

Southee responds with two bouncers.

22 needed off 30.
22:05  Scorecard:

Vettori brought Ryder on for one more over and it cost him five, thanks to a well picked lofted four to mid wicket from Samaraweera.

Allan Donald, meanwhile, seems to be following the Indian mantra now, having not moved from his perch at fine leg/long off after the fall of SAngakkara.

22:02  Scorecard:

Vettori has given one more over to RYDER!!!
21:58  Scorecard:

That Ryder over may have cost New Zealand the match in the final analysis. But the final analysis is very far away as Chamara Silva chops one from Southee on to his stumps.

Angelo Mathews who strained his thigh earlier, walks in with a runner.

21:55  Scorecard:

Chamara Silva creams Ryder, bowling his first over, past point first and then plays a cheeky shot past the 'keeper for another, as Sri Lanka release some pressure.

9 runs off that over!
21:52  Scorecard:

Two runs off that McKay over, as Chamara Silva middles every ball he faced but hit it straight to the fielder.

42 off 54.

Jesse Ryder is into the attack.

New Zealand have eight more to bowl after this: NMac has 4, southee 3, Oram and McKay 2 each.

Vettori is covered there.
21:47  Scorecard:

The four overs after Sangakkara's departure, have seen five runs being added to Sri Lanka's total as New Zealand slam the brakes on this chase.

The ask is now 44 off 60.

Angelo Mathews strained his thigh earlier in the match and he is followed in this batting order by the four strike bowlers.

McKay continues.
21:30  Scorecard:

Sanga guides a short one outside off staight down Styris's throat at third man.

Is there life left in this match?

Andy Zaltzman has been giving regular updates on each step Sri Lanka have been taking in putting this match to bed.

New Zealand seem to have turned up out of nowhere, pinched the game hard, and slapped it awake.
21:17  Scorecard:

Two quick wickets and the New Zealand players are all pumped up.

Vettori got three men around the bat for new man Samaraweera and has seven men in the ring for Sanga.

Andy McKay is back in the attack with a slip.
21:15  Scorecard:

Vettori raps Mahela on the pads as the new batsmen goes forward.

On field umpire gives it out, and SL review it. But it is upheld as the ball is hitting leg stump.

Vettori has three men around the bat for new man Thilan Samaraweera.
21:09  Scorecard:

Dilshan slashes to Ryder after a solid 73. It was not the most technically accomplished knock, but he had the patience to see off a tough period when New Zealand were throwing everything at the Sri Lankans, and then when opportunities presented themselves, he punished the wayward bowlers.

His knock has most likely put this match beyond New Zealand's grasp as Mahela walks in.
21:05  Scorecard:

Once they saw off the tough initial period, these two have grown from strength to strength.

They first went aerial to break the shackles, and as an increasing sign that they are truly on top, are now threading the ball through the field for fours along the carpet.

20:49  Scorecard:

The last five overs have brought 38 runs, and that is as good an indicator as any that these two have firmly broken the shackles.

Vettori turns to another dose of pace with Southee.

20:39  Scorecard:

Dilshan gets to his 50. He looks in top nick here, and provided Sri Lanka reaches the final, will be the key early wicket.

Along with the classy Sanga, he seems to have gotten a measure of the Kiwi bowling, and is looking to put the match beyond them now.

The bowl-straight-field-tight tactic seems to be coming off, as these two are methodically picking the bad balls and dispatching them around th park.
20:30  Scorecard:

McKay, who flew in just before this match, has come into the attack and assisted Oram and Vettori ably in keeping the run flow in check.

But Sanga and Dilshan have been untroubled otherwise, and Dilshan celebrated Sri Lanka's 100 with a pull off Oram for six before square driving him for a four.

Huge over in the context of the tight middle overs.

Vettori still persisting with six men in the ring, trying to force these two into an error.
19:57  Scorecard:

Powerplay done, Vettori looks to carry on with the attacking field, with six men inside the ring, including a slip as he continues from one end.

The over yields a single each to mid off for Sanga and Dilshan. The next fetches 3.
19:48  Scorecard:

The first ball of the last over of the powerplay, Sanga went on his knees and creamed Oram from around the wicket for much needd boundary.

Guptill who couldnt get down on time, kicks the ground in fury.

Is Vettori going to spread the field or is he going to attack like he did against South Africa?

19:33  Scorecard:

Now that you have got your breath back after that catch, Oram has been introduced into the attack, and has kept a tight leash on the proceedings.

Dilshan, meanwhile, is taking most of the strilke as Sanga settles in.
19:16  Scorecard:

Tharanga continued to hog the strike and was making good use of it too, having moved to a run-a-ball 30.

But in the eighth over off Tim Southee, he chased a wide half volley and scorched it to the left of point, where a low-flying Ryder latched on to it.
19:04  Scorecard:

Having learnt his lesson from the previous match, where he had to scamper to his 100 towards the end of the innings, Upul Tharanga has hogged the strike in the first 4 overs and has scored 18 off Sri Lanka's 24 so far.

Dilshan has played only six balls for his 3.
18:49  Scorecard:

New Zealand open with Nathan McCullum in the first over and Upul Tharanga dances down the wicket and plonks him over long on for six.

Can somebody tell him he is not batting at 102 n.o against England and this is a new match against a different opposition?

18:26  When they come back, New Zealand will pontentially have eight solid bowling options: McKay and Southee, their speedsters; Vettori, Nathan Mac, and Williamson in spin, and the military medium pace of Styris, Oram and Ryder.

Even Ross Taylor and Guptill have a few international wickets among them.
18:16  When New Zealand come out, this man will more likely open the innings along with Southee. Even if he doesn't you will see him sooner than later in the second innings if New Zealand are to make a fist of this: Andy McKay
18:14  Scorecard:

Mendis makes short work of the tail.

The New Zealand innings started off on the wrong foot, and showed lot of promise when Taylor and Styris were in the middle. But after Taylor departed, the lower middle order threw their bat in the powerplay overs and that was it.

New Zealand needed Styris to stay till the end, but he didn't and the innings folded with 7 balls to go.

This match, from here on, is Sri Lanka's to lose.

Join us after the break.
18:07  Scorecard:

Oram goes, and with him any possibility of a decent finish.
18:03  Scorecard:

Murali, bowling from over the wicket, traps Styris leg before. He leaves after reviving New Zealand from a slump. But the job is not done.

New Zealand scored 41/2 in the five powerplay overs andthey will take it.

After Taylor's departure, Styris has been ably supported by first Kane Williamson and then Nathan McCullum, both of whom perished in the powerplay.

Vettori seems to have done well by saving up Jacob Oram for the last thrust. If Big Jake can lose a few balls out of the park here, it can turn out to be a masterstroke, especially since Styris is not around to see them home.
17:38  Scorecard:

Powerplay was taken in the 42nd over and Malinga came on. Kane Williamson dispatched a full length delivery to the midwicket fence and Malinga responded with an attempted inswinging yorker.

It turned into a near beamer and looked like it would clean up Williamson, not the tallest Kiwi. But he stepped out of its line and smashed it over the off side field for three.

With 10 runs coming off the first powerplay over, New Zealand are all set for the slog.

Williamson faced up to Murali in the next over and redeemed himself with two lofted shots on the off side to fetch 10 off the second over too.
17:24  Scorecard:

After the top order had voluntarily dug the team into a neat little hole, Scott Styris, in Ross Taylor's company, has set about digging them out of it.

He has played both Malinga and the spinners with confidence and has showed how to bat on a slow wicket like this: Milk the singles and twos and the occasional three, and when the opportunity presents itself, get the fours.

He has done all the hard work now, and with no Taylor to give him company in the slog overs, he still has a lot more to do.
17:18  Scorecard:

Taylor and Styris have asked some questions of Sangakkara and the Sri Lankan skipper has looked answer them with bowling changes. He brough back Mendis and Herath, and while the duo had comfortably settled down milking them, Taylor hit out against Mendis in the 40th over, pegging back New Zealand just when they were looking like making a fight out it here.
16:58  Scorecard:

After the hole in which their top order, these two, especially Styris shows them how it is done.

For the first time in a match and a half, the opposition has asked SAngakkara to make a move, and he has kept on his most experienced bowlers in hope of a breakthrough, before bringing on Herath in the 35th over.

If these two break away here, New Zealand will be set for a strong finish. If they take a powerplay any time soon, it will get more interesting.
16:31  Scorecard:

Sanga brings on spin at both ends, and one of them is part timer Dilshan.

New Zealand have to get some semblance of acceleration here.

A standout aspect from Sri Lanka's last two matches is that Sanga has not even enforced attacking fields to force errors from the opposition. They have been only too happy to play themselves into trouble, even as he has kept his field spread with acres of space especially on the on side.
16:17  Scorecard:

Malinga is blazing away with this semi-old ball here.

He delivers another near-perfect inswinging yorker to clueless Styris, who somehow survives.

Dilshan, who opened the bowling against England, comes on at the half-way mark.

New Zealand have brought this upon themselves, as Sri Lanka has had to merely stick to the basics.

England were 89/2 at the halfway mark and we know where that innings went.

New Zealand hav mirrored that England innings, barring a brief opening spell of aggression.

If they don't take the challenge to the Sri Lankan spinners, they will only dig themselves deeper here.
16:05  Scorecard:

Malinga has far often been off colour in this world cup, but comes good here in the big match.

Sanga brings him on in the 22nd over, having taken him off after just one over, and he unleashes one of his famous unplayable inswinging yorker.

If that dismissal is to be photoshopped, that ball will definitely have a trail of smoke as it crashes into the stumps.
15:54  Scorecard:

Herath is back for his second spell.

The Kiwis continue to dig in deeper, and Sanga is teasing them with acres of open space on the leg side for the left arm spinner.

15:48  Scorecard:

Murali gets Ryder with the conventional off break.

Ryder has been trying to step away to the onside to make room, and there was always the risk of the doosra cutting in.

But in the 19th over, Murali got an off break on the right length, and Ryder knicks it to the 'keeper.

He got away earlier playing that same shot as an underedge sped past the keeper.

New Zealand have played right into Sri Lanka's hands here.
15:46  Scorecard:

Murali continues from around the wicket, and Ryder sat back for one that pitched on length and spun considerably. He then launched into a vicious cut, as the ball too the underedge, and sped off through 'keeper and first slip.

Ryder is playing Murali off the pitch, and one of these overs, his reflexes better be really good, as a doosra wil definitely come his way.
15:29  Scorecard:

Though they started positively, and have scored boundaries off bad balls, this second wicket pair is slowly edging into the England territory, where you dont take singles and rotate strike, give away a lot of dot balls, and thus enable the bowlers to strangle you at will.

They are not into the Trott zone here yet, but they have taken the first tentative step in self-strangulation.

Murali is on in the 15th over.
15:25  Scorecard:

Sanga has four men in a straight line on the off side inside the ring for Angelo to Ryder, and the strongman powers one over this wall like a free kick for a four.
15:21  Scorecard:

Ryder faced up to Mendis in the 12th over, and threw his body weight to the onside and crashed the ball in the opposite direction through the covers for four.

he tapped one around the corner for a single to bring the right handed Guptill to the crease. Mendis kept it around the off stump and the over passed off without incident.

15:08  Scorecard:

Sanga has a short midwicket for Angelo to Ryder, and the batsman almost fell for it, as Ryder flicked one inches over the fielder's outstretched hands.

Malinga, from mid on, gave chase and dived, feet first, kicking up a puff of dust as he intersected it.

Mendis replaces Herath after a beautiful first spell.
15:01  Scorecard:

McCullum tried to repeat his six off the first ball from Herath's previous over and time the ball pitches on off, continued past the tremendous swirl that McCullum's empty swing must have generated and hit the top of off.

Now, it will be up to Ryder and Guptill to dig the Kiwis out of this little hole Baz has dug for them.
14:56  Scorecard:

McCullum seems to have gotten a measure of Herath from that previous maiden over he played off him. He took a huge stride and swung him for a six off the first ball of the sixth over.

These two seem to have come mentally prepared for the kind of wicket and have so far been untroubled by the three bowlers used.

More quick bowling changes in order.
14:46  Scorecard:

Sanga introduced Angelo in the third over and came up to the stumps. A misfield at fine leg got Guptill a four.

Herath's next was a maiden. There was good turn on view, and McCullum got to the pitch of the ball, every delivery, and played it off with caution.
14:35  Scorecard:

Malinga gets the proceedings underway as usual.

At the other end, he brings on the left arm spin of Ranganna Herath. If Brendon McCullum can get on top of Herath quickly, he can force a quick rethink for Sanga.

14:04  Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bat.

Sri Lanka XI:
Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan, Tharanga, Thilan, C Silva, Angelo, Malinga, Murali, Ajantha, Herath

New Zealand XI:
Vettori, Taylor, Guptill, the McCullum brothers, Andy McKay, Jacob Oram, Ryder, Tim Southee, Styris, Kane Williamson
13:09  On how:

Sri Lanka can win

New Zealand can win
12:46  Yesterday, when he learnt that the semifinal will be played on the same pitch as the England v Sri Lanka match, Daniel Vettori was not happy one bit.

In the practice session that followed, the New Zealand batsmen faced up to an array of slow bowlers in the nets.

Of the around 12 net bowlers, at least 9 were spinners of varying quality.

At the same time, New Zealand were also keen to get their spin bowlers in top shape. Nathan McCullum was seen practicing in the square last evening.

And now, with about two hours to go before the start of play, Vettori is out in the middle, bowling on a pitch adjacent to the match wicket and is getting a lot of turn.

Today's match will thus, basically, boil down to this: How well can the Kiwi batsmen play Sri Lankan spin, and how well can New Zealand's slow bowlers control the Sri Lankan batsmen, brough up on a steady diet of world class spin bowling.

Either way, it is up to New Zealand to take the battle to the Sri Lankans.