Jubilant Sri Lanka makes WC final

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Kemantha Govender

Durban - Sri Lanka survived a scare but went on to beat New Zealand in the first ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final.

The Sri Lankans surpassed New Zealand's modest 218 to bag a five-wicket win at the R Premadasa Stadium with 13 balls to spare.

Sri Lanka also honoured Muttiah Muralitharan as the veteran said goodbye to his home crowd. He will retire after Saturday's final.

The 38-year-old Muralitharan holds the world record for test and one-day wickets and finished perfectly, capturing his last wicket in his final ball in Colombo.

New Zealand's lower order failed miserably, adding just 19 run for four wickets.

Scott Styris with his 57 from 77 balls steadied New Zealand innings but was trapped lbw by Muralitharan.

New Zealand never really posed any danger during their batting innings with Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis taking three wickets each.

But the Kiwis did, however, look threatening, taking a few quick wickets after Sri Lanka were sailing at 160 for two.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (73) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (54) gave Sri Lanka a comfortable start with their half centuries.

After Dilshan exited the field, Mahela Jayawardene (1) and Sangakkara (54) followed in quick succession.

But Angelo Mathews, batting with a runner after a thigh strain, and Thilan Samaraweera saw Sri Lanka to their second consecutive final.

They lost to Australia in 2007 in the final and won the 1996 edition of the competition.

Despondent skipper Daniel Vettori will relinquish the captaincy after being at the helm for four years.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday Pakistan and India will do battle amid tight security for a spot in the final.

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