Sri Lanka, the World Cup 2011 contender from the beginning, crushed the most colorful team of the World Cup 2011 by 10 wickets to set a semifinal date with New Zealand on 29th March. Before this match, England has 8 wins against Sri Lanka’s 3 in World Cup matches between them. The 10 wicket defeat of England, third consecutive defeat against Sri Lanka in World Cup, proved who is the real king in today’s cricket.
Sri Lanka had stopped the English march to 6th consecutive semifinal in 1996 World Cup. They repeated the same feat today at Colombo. They did not only stopped the English, but crushed them so badly that there would be more Yardy now in England after the thumping quarter-final loss.
Sri Lanka bowled first
Playing at home, Sri Lanka lost the toss but the spinners did not let English batsmen settle. Starting the inning with Dilshan, Tigers tasted blood when England’s best batsman of the tournament, Strauss was clean bowled by Dilshan. Later Herath, Mendis and Muralitharan did not ease the pressure.
Trott, in the company of Bopara and then Morgan, checked the flow of wickets but could not increase the run rate. Trott and Morgan scored half-centuries, and England lost only 6 wickets in 50 overs, yet the score of 229 did not appear enough, especially from a team that boasted of two 300 plus scores, one for a tie and other for a losing cause, and also had chased 292 runs with ease.
Sri Lankan Chase
Sri Lankan, on the other hand, may have been disappointed by losing the toss, as the Premdasa Stadium has history of team batting first winning and it was the same ground where Lankans faced their only defeat of this World Cup (against Pakistan) batting second. Yet, since their first defeat their openers Dilshan and Tharanga have been a revelation.
Dilshan and Tharanga
They had partnered for a World Cup record opening partnership in Group match. Today, in the quarterfinal against England, they easily scored 231 in 40 overs. If they were to bat first they might have remained unbeaten till 50 overs and scored many more runs for opening parnership. Today, knowing that the target was ONLY 230, both complemented each other and did not race against each other. Both helped each other to reach the century, Tharanga completing his century with the winning boundary. Dilshan had a role in his century as he did not score when he knew that only 3 runs were required to win and Tharanga needed 2 runs to complete his century.
Trott and The English Batsmen
Jonathan Trott showed how he could be the fastest to reach 1000 ODI runs during his innings of 86. Before being caught by Jayawardene on the bowling of Muralitharan in the 49th over, he had kept the English inning alive taking just 115 balls to score his 86 runs.
Morgan and Bopara complemented him well, but the run rate was too slow to recover in the end. Besides Sri Lankan bowlers were not giving any room to take risk.
English Bowlers Exposed
The English bowlers were a complete failure during the tournament, except when they defeated South Africa. Sri Lanka exposed what everyone knew that English bowlers lack teeth in subcontinent. They could not take a wicket in 40 overs. That speaks a lot about their team performance too. England was lucky to be in the quarterfinals. Considerinig New Zealand defended a lower total against South Africa, a good bowling unit could have at least given some fight, but as everyone knew, English bowlers were not above average, and as a result perished against a good batting attack.
Fielding saw Equal Competion
Both the teams dropped three catches, besides many misfieldings. Appears that was the only competition at par between both the teams. Otherwise Sri Lanka had the major control with leather and willow both.