Sri Lanka in close nine-run win
While the Sri Lankan batsmen failed with only Mahela Jayawardena and
Sanath Jayasuriya meriting mention,the bowlers led by Lasith Malinga and
Ajantha Mendis passed with distinctions to give Sri Lanka a close
nine-run victory over Ireland and take them closer to a semi-final berth
in the ICC World Cup Twenty20 tourney, here today.
After Sri Lanka made a modest 144 for 6 and when the Ireland openers
put on 59 for the first wicket, defeat was staring Sri Lanka in the
face. But once the openers were separated, the pieces began to fall
right for the Lankans.
Skipper Sangakkara then began to switch his bowlers around very
cleverly and the ones to oblige were the double Ms - Lasith Malinga and
Ajantha Mendis who realising the plight that the team was in bowled
intelligently and with a lot of cunning to throttle the Irish batting
and lure them to defeat.
The yorkers sent down by Malinga were terrifying and the batsmen were
more concerned in having their legs intact and were bowled offering no
strokes. When he had two wickets in two balls it brought back memories
of his historic effort where he had 4 in 4 in the World Cup in the
Caribbean to set up a record in 50 over cricket.
Ajantha Mendis who is doing well on English wickets spun his mystery
deliveries intelligently once again to take 2 for 22 in 4 overs. Malinga
had 2 for 19 in 4.
It dawned a nice summer day with bright sunshine and a win here for
Sri Lanka was going to make their passage into the semi-finals all that
Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and quite rightly decided to take
strike on a wicket that looked good for batting. The Lankans stayed with
the winning combination that saw them through against Pakistan.
Openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya had to give the
Lankans their usual good start for the batsmen following to build on.
The pair had given them good starts in the previous games.
But this time round the solid start did not materialise and it was a
horror start when Dilshan went second ball hooking too early and skying
to be caught by the wicket keeper Niall O達rien off Boyd Rankin for no
score. Dilshan痴 going early was a big loss.
Then Kumar Sangakkara went caught behind trying to glide a ball to
third man for 3 at 14 and with two of the best batsmen gone it was to
Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardena to restore the innings, put it back on
rails and give it momentum.
The two elder statesmen of Sri Lanka cricket Jayasuriya and
Jayawardena set about their task in determined fashion, but it was not
easy because the Ireland bowling was tight and a well set field.
But Jayasuriya and Jayawardena batting sensibly put on 67 for the
third wicket in 49 balls, before Jayasuriya left for 27 in 27 balls with
5 fours. Jayasuriya who was ruled out lbw was not happy with the
decision. Having to restore the innings he could not get his usual
belligerent batting going.
It was nice to see former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena
getting into the run making act that he was famous for.
It was his sensible innings that held the batting together. He played
his classic carpet drives that sped to the boundary. His cuts too were
magnificent and he hit a well timed six. It was great to watch him
perform like of old. The 78 he made was worth its weight in gold. It
came in 55 deliveries with 9 fours and a six.
Once Jayasuriya and Jayawardena left, the rest of the batting just
crumbled and Sri Lanka at one stage lost three wickets for 13. Chamara
Silva was once again a failure making just 4, and it is time now that
selectors on tour sat him on the bench and gave the always ignored
Indika de Saram the opportunity to unwind.
After impressing against Australia, Jehan Mubarak once again came a
cropper making only 7.
T. Dilshan c N O達rien b Rankin 0
S. Jayasuriya lbw b McCallan 27
K. Sangakkara c N O達rien b Johnston 3
M. Jayawardene b Cusack 78
C. Silva c Rankin b McCallan 4
J. Mubarak c N O達rien b Cusack 7
A. Mathews b Cusack 10
N. Kulasekara c Mooney b Rankin 1
M. Muralitharan st O達rien b Cusack 0
L. Malinga not out 1
A. Mendis not out 4
Extras (lb5, w4) 9
Total (9 wkts, 20 overs) 144
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Dilshan), 2-14 (Sangakkara), 3-81 (Jayasuriya), 4-97 (Silva),
5-126 (Mubarak), 6-128 (Jayawardene), 7-132 (Kulasekara), 8-139 (Mathews), 9-140 (O達rien).
Bowling: Rankin 4-0-27-2 (2w); Johnston 4-1-18-1 (1w); West 4-0-34-0 (1w);
McCallan 4-0-33-2; Cusack 3-0-18-4; K O達rien 1-0-9-0.
W. Porterfield c Sangakkara b Muralitharan 31
N. O達rien st Sangakkara b Mendis 31
A. White c Sangakkara b Kulasekara 22
K. O達rien c Dilshan b Mendis 0
J. Mooney not out 31
T. Johnston b Malinga 9
A. Botha b Mallinga 0
A. Cusack run out (Sangakkara) 2
R. West not out 1
Extras (b1, lb3, w3, nb1) 8
Total (7 wkts, 20 overs) 135
Fall of wickets: 1-59 (Porterfield), 2-87 (White), 3-89 (K O達rien), 4-91 (N O達rien),
5-106 (Johnston), 6-106 (Botha), 7-129 (Cusack).
Bowling: Mathews 3-0-23-0; Kulasekara 4-0-47-1 (1nb); Mendis 4-0-22-2 (1w);
Malinga 4-0-19-2 (2w); Muralitharan 4-0-13-1; Jayasuriya 1-0-7-0.