The match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand could rather be considered as the second quarter finals of the T20- world cup, with the first quarter finals being between West Indies and England on Monday. It was a curse for any team to have won all of its previous matches and still be under test. This was what Sri Lanka was facing yesterday when they took on New Zealand. The Sri Lankans should consider themselves lucky to have won the encounter against New Zealand and in the process make it to the semis. Not at all..I am not talking about the way the Sri Lankans played their game yesterday. I just compared this Sri Lankan team to the South African team that was eliminated after losing to India in the inaugural edition.
The loss for South Africa against India in 2007 was their first ever loss in that series. But, unfortunately, that particular loss proved to be too costly for the Proteas. Until then, the Proteas had wins against West Indies, Bangladesh (not to mention), New Zealand and England. This time it was Sri Lanka in that position. But, the way they put all that behind them and finally emerged victorious indeed deserves a praise. For, if the New Zealand batting was taken into consideration initially, they almost threatened to upset the Sri Lankan team who had until then been unbeaten. But, there was Mendis.
The match looked as though Sanath Jayasuriya wants to make it to the record books for the wrong reasons in this format of the game as well when he was out for a duck. Jayasuriya holds the record for most ducks in one day internationals. However, if not for the loss of Sanath Jayasuriya, none of the Sri Lankan batsmen followed suite. Of course..Chamara Silva was also not too much impressive either. But, the ones who followed him thereafter did a fab job for Sri Lanka needless to be said. There was Sangakkara and Jayawardane who held the nerves tight for Sri Lanka until the 18th over, leaving the remaining batsmen in Mubarak & Mathews with not too much to worry about.
However, the New Zealand were never in any mood to compromise either when they took 20 runs off the second over bowled by Sanath Jayasuriya. If the debacle that Sanath provided with the bat for Sri Lanka was not enough, this was in addition to the woes. But, the courage that Sangakkara showed when he handed over the ball back to Sanath Jayasuriya towards the end indeed needs some cheers. This was a gr8 risk taken by Sangakkara, for had Jayasuriya continued from where he had left in the 2nd over, all fingers would have pointed towards him.I remember the then Sri Lankan captain Jaywardane handing over the ball to Jayasuriya when his stats never supported him. At the end, Jayasuriya had yet another black feather to his cap when he became the bowler to concede the maximum number of runs after bowling 4 overs.
Sanath Jayasuriya in that match gave away 64 runs from his allotted 4 overs. If not for the 2nd over and the one which Malinga bowled giving away 14 runs, the rest of the overs were decent.There were four batsmen in the New Zealand who had scored 2 runs, with 8 of them scoring single digit scores.