New Zealand beat Lanka, keep their semi-final hopes alive

Riding on a splendid all round show, New Zealand saw off Sri Lanka by 38 runs in a high scoring Group B match to keep their semifinal chances alive.

updated: September 28, 2009 10:38 IST
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Johannesburg, South Africa:

Riding on a splendid all round show, New Zealand saw off Sri Lanka by 38 runs in a high scoring Group B match to keep their semifinal chances alive in the Champions Trophy here on Sunday.

Kiwi Skipper Daniel Vettori shone with both bat and ball in his team's victory as he first contributed an invaluable 48 and then took two crucial wickets.

Invited to bat, New Zealand overcame a mid-innings collapse to post a challenging 315 for seven and then bundled out Sri Lanka for 277 in 46.4 overs at the New Wanderers Stadium.

Sri Lanka have completed their league engagement with one win and two defeats but they still can make the semifinal grade as all four teams are still in contention in Group B. Result of the other clashes will decide which team qualifies for the next stage and net run-rate will surely have a major say in deciding that.

Jesse Ryder (74) and Brendon McCullum (46) gave their side a solid start and then Martin Guptill (66) and Vettori with their fiery knocks down the order pushed Kiwis to an impressive 300-plus score.

Sri Lanka were off to a flying start with Tillakaratne Dilshan (41) and Sanath Jayasuriya (24) going berserk but lack of partnerships after their dismissal cost them dear.

Kyle Mills was pretty expensive but emerged the highest wicket taker for Black Caps with his 10-0-69-3 figures. Daryl Tuffey (2/39) and James Franklin (2/40) took two wickets each.

Jayawardene, who was dropped on nought, top scored for Sri Lanka with his 77.

Nuwan Kulasekara hit a fighting unbeaten 57 at number eight but that was not enough to save Sri Lanka from defeat.

His innings was adorned with two fours and four sixes.

At the start, Mills and Shane Bond (0/82) were at the receiving end when Dilshan and Jayasuriya were at the crease.

Tuffey brought relief for his team when he saw the back of Jayasuriya and Mills got rid of Dilshan six balls later.

Both Sangakkara (11) and Jayawardene got lives when they had not even opened their accounts but the skipper could not make most of that dropped chance off Mills.

Jayawardene though cashed in on and kept his team in the hunt with his sedate 85-ball knock, which featured six fours and two sixes.

However the former captain did not get a good partner as Thilan Samaraweera (17) and Thilina Kandambi (11) squandered good starts.

Kiwi skipper Vettori sent back Samaraweera not letting a partnership flourish between him and Jayawardene, leaving Lankans at 137 for five.

Angelo Mathews (2) also returned in hurry but Kulasekara raised hopes of his team when he stuck to the crease and rattled up an unlikely 78 runs with Jayawardene for the seventh wicket.

Vettori broke the stand when he castled Jayawardene and the task was quite enormous for Sri Lankan lower order to score the required runs.

Earlier, Ryder battled through a groin strain for his 74 and combined for a 125-run opening stand in 20 overs with fellow opener Brendon McCullum (46).

However, the Black caps lost half their side by the 30th but Guptill and Vettori (48) played saviours with their valiant efforts down the order.

Ryder batted with a runner after picking up a groin strain in the fifth over and though the burly left-hander was in discomfort, he didn't let it hamper his fluent stroke-play.

The 25-year-old struck 10 fours and a six in his 58-ball knock, while McCullum's 72-ball innings was studded with five boundaries.

He was dismissed in the 20th over when an attempted across the line hit off Nuwan Kulasekara found its way to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.

McCullum departed a couple of overs later when he edged an Angelo Mathews to Tillakaratne Dilshan at backward point.

The wickets kept tumbling after that with Ross Taylor departing in the 23rd over and Grant Elliot going down LBW to Mathews, leaving New Zealand at 140 for 4.

Jayasuriya struck again in the 30th over when he had Neil Broom (15) caught at backward point by Jayawardene.

In came Vettori and he immediately got on the job of rebuilding the innings putting together 69 runs with Guptill.

The dashing all-rounder struck four boundaries and a six in his brief cameo that revived New Zealand's innings.

However, Jayasuriya struck for the third time when he induced a mis-timed shot from Vettori to long-on, where Chamara Kapugadera made no mistake to give his team the crucial breakthrough.

But Guptill ensured that the Kiwi run rate didn't suffer much and lofted Thilan Thushara for a massive six in the 44th over. He was eventually bowled by Lasith Malinga but had done his job of rescuing the Black Caps by then.

Later, James Franklin kept up the momentum with a quick-fire 28 to take the team past 300.