|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
SL lose despite Tharanga ton
March 10, 2007 17:47 IST
New Zealand restored their World Cup morale after Tuesday's surprise defeat by Bangladesh when they beat a powerful Sri Lanka side by 18 runs in Barbados on Friday.
Despite a glittering century from Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga, the Black Caps clinched victory in the teams' final warm-up match in the penultimate over at the 3Ws Oval just outside Bridgetown.
On the face of it, 1996 winners Sri Lanka posed a far stickier problem for the Kiwis at the 3Ws Oval than Bangladesh three days earlier, but this time New Zealand attacked the bowling from the start in their 285 for eight from 50 overs.
They were helped by a solid platform established by opening pair, captain Stephen Fleming and Lou Vincent, who made 131 for the first wicket.
Fleming was the first to depart, attempting one hoist over mid-off too many to be comfortably caught by Farveez Maharoof off Nuwan Kulasekara's bowling for 65.
Vincent carried on the assault on the Sri Lankan attack and had advanced the score to 175 when he was undone by a direct hit from the covers by captain Mahela Jayawardene to be run out for 70 from 105 balls.
Peter Fulton was quick to take up the attack and he needed just 47 balls to strike a quickfire 59 which included three sixes and ensured they did not lose momentum through the middle order.
None of the Sri Lankan bowlers, who had made such short work of Scotland on Monday, came off the field with much credit.
Sri Lanka's main threat, spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, took more than his fair share of punishment in a 10-over spell which went for 64 with only one wicket to show for his efforts.
Tharanga clearly fancied his chances of helping his side overhaul a fairly daunting total on a wicket described earlier in the week by Fleming as slow enough to be "tacky".
He tucked into the Kiwi attack, which was missing resting spinner Daniel Vettori, before departing for 106.
For Sri Lanka wickets continued to fell regularly and James Franklin finished off their resistance with a direct hit to run out Kulusekara.
The win will put the Kiwis, who lost to Bangladesh by two wickets on Tuesday, in a confident mood before facing England in their opening Group C clash in St Lucia next Friday.
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
Would you like to join the Cricket and Cricket Lovers Discussion Group and discuss your cricket views with other cricket freaks? Click here. Have fun!