Lankans defeat Kiwis

Sri Lanka scored an easy victory over New Zealand in the final Group C game at The Wanderers, coasting home by 7 wickets in the penultimate over to top the group as the preliminary stage of the Twenty20 World Championship comes to a close. Sanath Jayasuriya starred again, smashing 61 off 44 balls, and sharing a blitzkrieg opening stand of 82 in 7.3 overs with Upul Tharanga.

The Sri Lankans had been set a relatively modest 165, after a mostly disciplined bowling effort, especially at the start, from their attack. Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando used copious variations of pace, and kept Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum to strike-rates below 90. Fernando dismissed both, but Peter Fulton and, especially, Ross Taylor then injected urgency into the Kiwi effort, putting-on 70 in 5.4 overs. Gayan Wijekoon, unlike his team-mates Jayasuriya and Lasith Malinga, struggled badly. Fulton, Scott Styris and Craig McMillan fell in quick succession in the 11th, 12th and 13th overs, but Jacob Oram joined Taylor to ensure the third-wicket stand was not completely wasted. Wijekoon conceded 50 from his 4 overs; the other bowlers all conceded between 6.75 and 7.75-an-over.

Shane Bond enjoyed a forgettable day too, as the left-handed Sri Lankan opening pair carved him all over. He also dropped a sitter from Jayasuriya at mid-on. By the time Tharanga was dismissed for a 25-ball 37 in the 8th, the match was Sri Lanka’s to throw away. Daniel Vettori and Styris slowed things considerably over their spells, both conceding less than a-run-a-ball, and Kumar Sangakkara was bogged down, positively crawling to 14 from 19. There was a measure of time to spare, however, and Mahela Jayawadene’s good form continued, as the captain stroked his way to an 18-ball 35*. Jayasuriya’s fortune finally ran-out with 7 required for victory, but Chamara Silva ensured there were no alarms. Just one group game remains, then the Super Eight phase begins tomorrow.

New Zealand 164-7 (20 overs)
Ross Taylor 62, Jacob Oram 33*
Dilhara Fernando 2-31, Sanath Jayasuriya 1-25, Lasith Malinga 1-28

Sri Lanka 168-3 (18.5 overs)
Sanath Jayasuriya 61, Upul Tharanga 37, Mahela Jayawardene 35*
Daniel Vettori 2-23, Scott Styris 1-16

Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Sanath Jayasuriya

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