Australia sets up final showdown with New Zealand

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India’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign, colourful and vibrant and fearless, ended with a whimper on Thursday (March 26) night, allowing Australia to set up a title clash against trans-Tasman neighbours and co-host New Zealand at the MCG on Sunday. A vast majority of the packed house at the Sydney Cricket Ground seldom found its collective voice as India was conquered once again by Steve Smith, its principal tormentor in the Test series in December-January, and the scoreboard pressure that is invariably amplified on a stage as imposing as the semifinal of a World Cup. Australian fears proved unfounded as the SCG pitch held up extremely well, encouraging stroke production in the afternoon and slightly quickening up under lights. Michael Clarke hit it lucky with the coin after Mahendra Singh Dhoni called… Read More →

Elliott the hero as New Zealand makes final

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The wildest dreams of 41,279 hearts came one step closer to realisation on a blow-hot blow-wet autumn night in Auckland as New Zealand’s fire burned bright enough to overcome dogged South African opposition, the elements and the occasion. Set 298 to win on Tuesday (March 24) from 43 overs after just under two hours were lost to a rain break, New Zealand began in a new-age Brendon McCullum blaze towards glory, then fell back on its greatest traditional strength, good old-fashioned teamwork. The sum of New Zealand’s parts, on the field, with the ball and finally, gloriously, with the bat, was enough to steal a four-wicket win with one ball remaining, putting it in its first ICC Cricket World Cup final. When Grant Elliott, born in Johannesburg and cricket… Read More →

MUTTIAH MURALIDARAN: Disappointing Sri Lanka found wanting right across the board

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Former Sri Lanka spinner says now is the time to rebuild and reassess To say the nine-wicket loss to South Africa in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was a bad day for Sri Lanka cricket is a massive understatement.And although I do not want to be critical, the reality has to be faced that while much of the pre-match talk was of South Africa’s past record of choking, when the crunch came it was Sri Lanka that was found wanting right across the board.I give South Africa full credit for the way they played as, having lost the toss, their fast bowlers were excellent first-up and that created the situation where the spinners were able to steal the show. But Sri Lanka’s selections, the batting order and the way… Read More →

Sangakkara reflects on his career as Sri Lanka fall to Proteas

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listen to ‘Kumar Sangakarra (Eng) reviews Sri Lanka exit and reflects on his career’ on audioBoom listen to ‘Kumar Sangakarra (Sinhalese) relfects on exit from ICC Cricket World Cup’ on audioBoom Q. Kumar, not the ideal finish for you. Take us through what actually went wrong after you won the toss and batted. KUMAR SANGAKKARA: Well, I thought they bowled pretty well at the start, and losing two wickets up front always puts the batters under pressure. We were playing with six batsmen today, and it was just a case of building partnerships, but every time we tried to get something going, there was a wicket falling, and the disappointing thing was that we gave seven wickets to spin when they… Read More →

South Africa storms into semi-finals

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South Africa was bundled out of the 1992 edition, at the semi-final stage against England. Since then, despite making the knockouts in 1996, 1999, 2007 and 2011, it always found itself on the wrong side of the result. But on Wednesday (March 18) evening, AB de Villiers and his men laid those ghosts to rest in the most comprehensive of fashions. Through a steady diet of hostile pace, followed by a masterful display of guile from Imran Tahir and the wicket-to-wicket accuracy of hat-trick man JP Duminy, South Africa sent Sri Lanka sliding to 133 all out with 12.4 overs unutilised in the first quarter-final of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. South Africa wasn’t letting this one go. Quinton de Kock followed up a… Read More →

MUTTIAH MURALIDARAN: Win the toss and do not get too hung up on de Villiers

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I have two messages for the Sri Lanka squad and captain Angelo Mathews ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-final against South Africa in Sydney: win the toss and do not get too hung up thinking about AB de Villiers. The toss, I believe, will play a vital part in the outcome of the match. The side batting first in One-Day Internationals at the Sydney Cricket Ground wins 58 per cent of the time according to the statistics but, in the pressure of a knock-out match as this one is, I reckon the advantage of runs on the board counts for even more than that figure suggests. It is a ground I know very well – I played eight ODIs there – and if you can… Read More →

Angelo Mathews ready for special Sydney atmosphere against Proteas

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Q. Obviously, AB de Villiers was particularly destructive when he last played at this ground, and Sri Lanka with the batsmen you have on your side as well. Are you expecting this to be a pretty entertaining match? And having it at the SCG itself, what’s that mean for you playing a game like this at this venue? ANGELO MATHEWS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, if you play at MCG or SCG it’s like playing at home. Most of the Sri Lankans across Australia or across the world, they fly into Sydney with immense support for us, and we really enjoy playing in Sydney. Also it’s going to be a tough game for both teams. As we all know, we’ve come… Read More →

Sri Lanka v South Africa Preview, Sydney

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It’s come down to this now; 12 days, 7 games and 3 victories stand between eight teams and the label of World Cup winners. After a prolonged period of foreplay that involved 42 games, cricket’s pinnacle event has reached the business end, as it were. This is the point of no return, there are no more second chances, no further opportunity to right a wrong. This is when you either shape up, or ship out. Sri Lanka has been here many times in the past. More often than not, it has surmounted this hurdle, an obstacle that can make nervy boys out of solid men. South Africa has been here too, many times in the past. It has been nothing… Read More →

President, PM wish SL Cricket Team via Skype

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President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke to the Sri Lankan cricket team via Skype today and wished them for the quarter finals of the cricket world cup. Sri Lanka will face South Africa in the quarter final knock out stage of the 2015 cricket world cup on Wednesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia. The President praised Kumar Sangakkara for his performance so far during the tournament. Sangakkara had scored four consecutive centuries during the tournament. President Sirisena said the team had brought pride to the Nation and hoped they perform as good as they have done so far during the next stage of the tournament. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also spoke to the team via Skype and wished them for… Read More →

AUDIO: Lahiru Thirimanne reviews his side’s win over Scotland

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listen to ‘Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne reviews his side’s win over Scotland’ on audioBoom Q. How is it to be in a dressing room where a legend Sangakkara has scored four centuries, and what is the feeling in the dressing room after that? LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: It’s fantastic. We are all privileged to share the same dressing room with him. It’s fantastic. He is playing wonderfully at the moment. Hopefully he continues his form in the qualifying rounds. Q. Lasith has handled a lot of responsibilities. Was it good to have another bowler in there that could bowl above 140? Do you think that’ll be handy in Australian conditions? LAHIRU THIRIMANNE: Yeah, absolutely. We saw that today. Dushmantha, he bowls 140,… Read More →

Sri Lanka romps home after Sanga, Dilshan tons

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You could almost see the century coming, from the time Kumar Sangakkara strode out to the middle. Lahiru Thirimanne batted as if he had just woken up from a nightmare, the white cricket ball treated with suspicious apprehension, if not a little dread. And it wasn’t as if the ball was doing a great deal – a little bit of movement, a little bit of bounce. Nothing undue or alarming. Even as Tillakaratne Dilshan seemed in the middle of a net session, Thirimanne appeared nervy and uncertain. Alasdair Evans did Thirimanne a favour by having him caught at second slip and putting him out of his misery; Evans had, however, done his team no favours at all by thus heralding the arrival in the middle of the… Read More →

Chandimal ruled out of 2015 World Cup, Kusal as replacement

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ICC Media Release The ICC has confirmed that the Event Technical Committee of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has approved Kusal Perera as a replacement player for Dinesh Chandimal in Sri Lanka’s squad for the tournament. Chandimal suffered a hamstring injury during his side’s match against Australia in Sydney and has been ruled out of further participation in the tournament. Perera has played 41 ODIs for Sri Lanka in which he has scored 839 runs with one century and four half-centuries. His last ODI was against England in Pallekele in December 2014. Any injury or illness-based replacement requires a written submission to the Event Technical Committee along with a diagnosis from a medical practitioner as to the extent of… Read More →

Kithuruwan and Kaushal to Australia

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Media Release Owing to the injuries faced by Dinesh Chandimal,the National Selectors have in discussion with the Team Management recommended to fly in Kithruwan Vithanage as a cover up batsman and in case Rangana’s injury is not fully healed to fly P.H.T Kaushal as cover up for same.They will be subjected to the approval of the ICC’s WC 2015 Technical Committee. This has been approved by the Hon.Minister of Sports.

MUTTIAH MURALIDARAN: Batting quality means there’s still plenty to be positive about

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It may seem like an odd thing to write after losing a match by 64 runs, but I am feeling very positive after Sri Lanka’s defeat against Australia. After conceding a mountain of runs, the batsmen once again showed their quality, and for 40 overs Angelo Mathews’ men really kept the opposition on their toes. And in Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka have the number one one-day batsman in the world at the moment. You can talk all you like about Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers or Glenn Maxwell – and all of them have played superbly in this tournament – but Sanga is the man all other sides will fear most of all. His feat of scoring three World Cup hundreds in a row is incredible and… Read More →