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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sri Lanka rightly claim place in final

Sri Lanka convincingly defeated New Zealand by 81 runs in the World Cup semi-final at Kingston Jamaica. They will now play the winner of the Australia- South Africa in Saturday's final.

Sri Lanka, who were at full strength, won the toss and chose to bat. James Franklin took the first two wickets but Upal Tharanga kept things moving. When he was third out at 111 in the 26th over for 73/74 he'd provided a good launching pad which captain Mahela Jayawardene and the other batters duly built upon. The New Zealand bowling fell away in the last 10 overs, conceding 100 runs which left them to make 290 to win: a tall order given the calibre of the Sri Lankan attack.

And so it proved. Stephen Fleming continued his poor form against Sri Lanka, though this time it was Lasith Malinga, not Chaminda Vaas, who dismissed him. Peter Fulton and Scott Styris retrieved an unpromising 2/32, but the spinners , especially (though not unexpectedly) Muttiah Muralithuran, handed the initiative to Sri Lanka by taking 7/44. A last wicket partnership of 59 narrowed the margin but did little to sweeten the bitter pill of defeat and expulsion from the tournament.

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