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 Post subject: Sri Lanka set for World Cup final
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:34 am 
Jayawardene storms SL into final

April 24, 2007

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A masterfully controlled knock from Mahela Jaywardene, A fiery opening spell from Lasith Malinga, where he had the batsmen hopping and a twirlingly deceptive effort from Muttiah Muralitharan put Sri Lanka well on the way to a place in the final of the World Cup.

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Tharanga justified the faith shown in him by Sri Lanka's tour selection committee, putting together 73 at the top of the order.

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Malinga, coming back into the Sri Lankan team after missing a game through an ankle injury, was at his very best. The ball consistently swung away late from the right-handers at great pace after coming in with the arm.


New Zealand and Sri Lanka set for a hard-fought showdown
Sri Lanka with one of the best and most unorthodox attacks in the world

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"You're playing against one of the best spinners who's ever lived, and people like Vaas, who's unbelievably accurate and successful, and [Lasith] Malinga who's out of this world". "We know it's going to be difficult but we've played them enough recently to have some plans to deal with them." - Jacob Oram

New Zealand and Sri Lanka look set for a hard-fought showdown in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final in Jamaica.

Both sides hope to be at full strength with Shane Bond and Jacob Oram back for the Kiwis and Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga returning from an ankle injury.

And there is little to choose between them despite Sri Lanka's six-wicket win during the Super 8 round.

Neither side has played at Sabina Park during the tournament, where the pitch is expected to provide extra bounce.

"If that's the case, hopefully we can expose them. I'm not saying they can't handle the bounce but, like a lot of sub-continent teams, it's pretty foreign to them," said Oram, who has recovered from a sore heel.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene responded by saying: "Like any other cricketers in the world, our batsmen love to play on bouncy tracks when the ball is coming on - and we've got a decent bowling attack to complement those conditions."

But he acknowledged: "The semi-final is a very big hurdle for us to jump. When we left Sri Lanka, this were the targets we set - getting to the semi-finals and then looking forward from that."

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Malinga will provide Sri Lanka with extra firepower but he relies more on speed through the air because of his low arm, so the selectors may be tempted to recall tall fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, who missed their last game against Ireland.

Farveez Maharoof would be the player most likely to make way for Fernando, even though he took four wickets against the Irish and has promised to give "200%" against the Kiwis.

"It's a good headache to have. Everyone in this squad has put their hands up when it comes to performing," Jayawardene commented.

The 1996 World Cup winners will keep faith with opening batsman Upul Tharanga, who has an average of only 24 in the tournament but has a settled partnership with prolific veteran Sanath Jayasuriya.

They have a replacement available in former skipper Marvan Atapattu but chief selector Asantha de Mel said: "We must not forget that Tharanga scored two centuries against England last year and also two centuries in the Champions Trophy.

"In this World Cup also, he was the highest scorer with 65 against India."

For New Zealand, the battle is also likely to be a mental one as they have reached the semi-finals four times in the past and lost on each occasion.

Captain Stephen Fleming is respectful of Sri Lanka's all-round talent but he believes his side has sufficient quality to come out on top.

"They're probably the most balanced bowling attack here. They're very unorthodox and provide massive challenges to our batters.

"The flip side is that the batting is probably not as strong as other teams around.

"There's a couple of players they rely heavily upon and if we get into them early, we can create some pressure and maybe keep it to a score or defend a score that is not as high as you need against Australia," said Fleming.

New Zealand's main dilemma will be whether to play an extra seamer at the expense of spin bowler Jeetan Patel, but neither Mark Gillespie nor Michael Mason has produced anything of note thus far, and Chris Martin has yet to appear in a single match.

New Zealand had only one win in the last three games of the second round, and with question marks over their ability to cope with Sri Lanka, and their motivation during the no-show against Australia.

New Zealand lost by six wickets to Sri Lanka in their Super Eights match nine days ago after succumbing first to the bowling of Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas - each of whom ended with three wickets - and then the batting of Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara.

Oram said his side were fully aware of the penetration and variety of the Sri Lankan bowling attack but were more stimulated than fearful about the upcoming challenge.

And they had prepared with many hours of homework.


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:21 pm
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Location: Amsterdam , New York , Tokyo, Colombo
Mahela Jayawardena and his team have the best wishes of millions of cricket fans across the world.

If we win, we get in the history books, if we do not, we are already in the history books as the team that has played cricket as it should be played and as a bunch of world class cricketers who have already won the hearts and minds of the cricketing world. We have nothing to lose.

Mahela and his team have the best wishes of millions of cricket fans across the world.


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:42 am
Posts: 22
best wishes from all Sri Lankans for the world cup for Mahela and the team..I sure AUSSIIESS will tuck their tails between their legs end of the match..GOOD LUCK MAHELA..........


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 Post subject: Duckworth/Lewis victory to Australia
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:31 pm 
Duckworth/Lewis victory to Australia
Gilchrist and Aussies smashing amid chaos

Maybe it was inevitable that this ill-fated, ill-conceived tournament should end so absurdly with a Duckworth/Lewis victory to Australia. The two best sides in the world strained every sinew to win the trophy properly and in the process rescue a tournament that has been flawed from start to finish. Despite all the impediments it was some match until the final three-quarters of an hour. Gilchrist have put the game way beyond the reach of any international side after Ricky Ponting had won the toss. But Sri Lanka refused to be cowed and gave chase so valiantly that this game was no foregone conclusion at 5.10 pm, when the rain intervened one more time.

Vic Marks Bridgetown
Sunday April 29, 2007
@The Observer


Maybe it was inevitable that this ill-fated, ill-conceived tournament should end so absurdly with a Duckworth/Lewis victory to Australia. After they had cracked 281 for four from 38 overs on a stormy day, Sri Lanka, defiant to the last, gave chase but accepted the umpires' second offer of the light with three overs remaining and their target now unattainable.
Then, after the Aussies had commenced celebrations, amid great confusions those final three overs were bowled after all. Amid boos and catcalls and another Australian huddle of celebration barely visible from the sidelines, the curtain fell upon a World Cup that lurched between tragedy and farce for seven weeks. Here was confirmation that we live in an age where regulation far outstrips common sense.

It was a farcical conclusion to the tournament. Earlier, after one shower, play resumed in semi-darkness and no one in the ground knew whether or how the target had been reduced. What a shambles.
As dusk set in, there was yet another delay while the figures were sorted out. In a land where the sun sets swiftly, more precious time had been wasted. Eventually the umpires had to offer the batsmen the light, but they had to stay on since they were behind the rate. Then the second offer was accepted. And then, to our utter astonishment, they returned for Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke to propel the ball at a pace that was visible. In the end Australia retained the World Cup by a margin of 53 runs that no one could understand.

No doubt Australia deserved their victory. But if ever a match was a metaphor for the ills of the modern game and this tournament, this was it. Common sense requires that in a final to decide the world champions every opportunity should be given to deliver a match with cricketing integrity. It should be able to run its 50-over course even if it takes two or three days to get there. But, of course, cricketing integrity appears to be the last thing on the minds of those who run World Cups. A manageable product for TV and the sponsors is far more important. So it is that after 50 matches and seven weeks of competition Australia hold the trophy thanks to the calculations of the estimable Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis. Congratulations to them. Meanwhile, ICC CWC 2007 Inc has bucket loads of egg upon its face. How dare the organisers try to spin a success story this week?

The two best sides in the world strained every sinew to win the trophy properly and in the process rescue a tournament that has been flawed from start to finish.

Despite all the impediments it was some match until the final three-quarters of an hour. Gilchrist should have put the game way beyond the reach of any international side after Ricky Ponting had won the toss at 9.50am, which actually meant that his side could start batting at 12.15pm (more rain). But Sri Lanka refused to be cowed and gave chase so valiantly that this game was no foregone conclusion at 5.10pm, when the rain intervened one more time.

Gilchrist has been overshadowed by his barnstorming partner, Matthew Hayden, in this tournament, but come the final he was the man who was relaxed enough to let those juices flow. Where Hayden, by his standards, was careworn and circumspect, Gilchrist sped to his fifty in 43 balls. Twenty-nine balls later he had a century in the most thrilling display of controlled hitting ever seen in a World Cup final.

Four others have hit centuries in a final - Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Aravinda de Silva and Ponting, winners all. But none of them attacked with this ferocious abandon. Hands impossibly high on his bat, Gilchrist swung and never missed.

The Kensington Oval was not big enough to contain him. Every bowler he faced was caned. Now sixes rained into the stands, even when Muttiah Muralitharan was bowling. One pulled drive against Murali almost cleared the Greenidge and Haynes Stand, while the paintwork high up in the elegant Three Ws stand, so recently completed, was badly blemished when Tillakaratne Dilshan was bowling.

Sri Lanka did not bowl that badly; nor were they slovenly in the field. Gilchrist was simply irresistible. For the most part Hayden looked on in admiration during an opening partnership of 172.

After Hayden went for 38, Ponting proved just as adept at giving Gilchrist the strike. The mood of Mahela Jayawardene and his men was not enhanced when both Ponting and then Andrew Symonds were warned - but not penalised the dreaded five runs - for running on the pitch.

Sri Lanka's reply was inevitably frenetic. Upul Tharanga smashed his first ball over cover for four but soon nibbled at a Nathan Bracken swinger. Then Sanath Jayasuriya, as ever exploring the off-side boundaries, tormented Shaun Tait. Now Kumar Sangakkara was also galvanised. This pair threw the bat in thrilling style; the chase was on as they added 114 together in 17 overs. The Aussies, if not drowning, were no longer cruising in the Caribbean.

Tait was immediately replaced by Glenn McGrath in his last international. So here we had two champions of the game, Jayasuriya and McGrath, gentlemen both behind the bullshit, locked in combat one last time. Jayasuriya paid McGrath the respect of watchfully leaving most of his first over. Then the swinging resumed.

Seeing the clouds massing on the horizon, the Sri Lanka pair had to take more risks to keep up with Duckworth/Lewis targets for a foreshortened game. Sangakkara pulled to midwicket and Jayasuriya heaved and missed against Michael Clarke.

The rest of the Sri Lankans flailed away earnestly; the Aussies, hampered by a wet ball, were booed for their slow over rate and it grew dark as the sun set behind the clouds.

The tournament may have got the farcical final it deserved, but some great players were owed more than this. It should have been a showpiece to say a more dignified farewell to two of the greatest cricketers of the past 15 years, Jayasuriya and McGrath. Instead we all left shaking our heads that after seven interminable weeks it had ended like this.


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 Post subject: World Cup referee Crowe admits error
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:35 pm 
World Cup referee Crowe admits error

Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:32 AM IST
By John Mehaffey
@ Reuters India


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Reuters) - World Cup match referee Jeff Crowe admitted on Saturday that Sri Lanka had been mistakenly asked to come back on the field for a final three overs in the rain-reduced World Cup final against Australia.

Australia were celebrating their third consecutive World Cup victory after the Sri Lanka batsman had gone off for bad light when the teams were told they would have to complete the final three overs or come back on Sunday to finish the match.

The game was already completed because Sri Lanka had batted the minimum 20 of their reduced allotted of 36 overs.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his Sri Lanka counterpart Mahela Jayawardene agreed that the Australian spinners, instead of fast bowlers, would bowl the final overs because of the bad light.

Crowe told a news conference the umpiring team of himself, on-field referees Steve Bucknor and Aleem Dar and the third and fourth umpires Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden would take collective responsibility.

"It's a human error," he said. "It was a mistake."

Jayawardene said he realised the match was over when his batsmen were offered the option of going off for bad light.

"The umpires said we had to play three overs," he told a news conference. "We were surprised, we found out later they had got it wrong."


© Reuters 2007.


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