Mahela a magnificent captain’s knock
WORLD CUP: There was great rejoicing even here in the West Indies
when Sri Lanka brushed aside New Zealand to enter the final of the 2007
Everyone who is somebody in the Caribbean is admiring the manner in
which the Lankans play and the game was over, on the ground and
everywhere we went, hands were stretched out to us when they realised
that we are from Sri Lanka and being the only journalists from Sri
Lanka, congratulating us and saying that Sri Lanka would win the World
The Lankan cricketer who smile even when in adversity, have won the
hearts of the Caribbean people, who in the absence of their countrymen
from the tournament, cheer and support us.
It was a wonderful team effort that helped the Lankans to beat the
Kiwis in this sudden death game. When batting they were struggling at
Mahela Jayawardena played a truly magnificent captain’s innings. When
wickets were falling around him, he realised that as captain he must
stay put at the wicket and show the batsmen following the way.
And that is what he exactly did.
Early on Jayawardena was the epitome of conservatism with his batting
which seemed more suited for Test cricket. But when he cut loose, there
was no stopping him.
He was well supported by opener Upul Tharanga who got back to his
run-making habit, Chamara Silva, Tillekeratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold.
It was the arrival of Dilshan who hit hard for 30 that added the
intensity to the Lankan batting. In the 102 made in the final 10 overs,
Jayawardena had 69 of them which underlined his total dominance in his
unbeaten 115 which brought him the man of the match award.
Then on the field he marshalled his troops like a true commander, and
what he achieved needs no reiterating.
This game between Sri Lanka and New Zealand is a grudge battle after
the unsporting run out of Muttiah Muralitheran in the Test Match in
Christchurch. In this series Sri Lanka have now won two out of two.
The Kiwis attempt to make the runs for victory was laid to rest on
the wicket in Sabina Park, when Muralitheran who is now the leading
wicket-taker in the World Cup cunningly and cleverly tossed his spinners
to bemuse, befuddle and lure the Kiwis to their demise and out of the
Stephen Fleming the New Zealand captain announced his quitting from
the one-day after his team skidded to defeat against Sri Lanka. He has
been captain for 10 years and at 34 thinks that he has a few more years
in the game and would like to pay more attention to the established
After the defeat, Fleming who was plumb in front to Lasith Malinga
for one, said: “I dreamed the dream that I’d be lifting the World Cup.
But it wasn’t to be.” Fleming tips left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori to
step into his captaincy shoes.
Umpires Simon Taufell, who has been accepted as the best of his kind
in the world and Rudi Koertzen had their bad days in this game and some
of their decisions, which affected batsmen on both sides to say the
least was atrocious.
Taufell and Koertzen would have earned minus points.
Sabina Park, Jamaica, Wednesday