Sri Lanka Beat India By 69 Runs :)
Sri Lanka continued their impressive run in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 defeating India by 69 runs in their Group B encounter at Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain.
Munaf Patel was the last man to be dismissed by Tillakaratne Dilshan. Munaf tried to hit Dilshan out of the park on the leg side but did not connect properly. Chaminda Vaas took the catch to spark off the celebrations in the Lankan camp.
Zaheer Khan was the 9th Indian wicket to fall, swinging Muttiah Muralitharan straight into the hands of Lasith Malinga at long-on. India were 161/9 after 40 overs.
India skipper Rahul Dravid fell for a fighting 60 as the Indian innings deteriorated further. Dravid had to bat with a runner (Robin Uthappa) after cramping up. Soon after he decided to go on the attack hitting Lasith Malinga for four boundaries in an over, pouncing on deliveries outside off stump. But it was too good to last. His lofted drive ended up straight into the hands of Muralitharan at long-off.
Ajit Agarkar perished trying to hit Lasith Malinga out of the park as India inched closer to defeat. Agarkar struggled with the short stuff delivered by the Malinga and so tried to loft one when he was offered a fuller delivery. The result – a simple catch to Russel Arnold at mid-on
The Indian scorecard read a miserable 138/7 after 35 overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni fell first ball to Muralitharan, caught plumb in front of the wickets as India’s hopes of progressing to the Super 8s started fading. Dhoni failed to get a bat on a delivery that pitched and straightened and that was the end of the explosive Indian keeper. India were up against it at 121/6 after 30 overs. And though Dravid was still at the crease, this wall was a very difficult one to climb.
Before Dhoni another disaster struck India when a terrible mix-up ended Yuvraj Singh’s innings. Dravid nudged a ball to short fine leg and Yuvraj charged down the wicket for a single, only for the skipper to send him back. Yuvraj couldn’t regain his crease as Sanath Jayasuriya disturbed the stumps at the bowler’s end.
Muralitharan cut short a promising innings by Virender Sehwag as India found themselves in deep trouble at 105/4 after 25 overs.
Sehwag opened the face of his bat to a delivery pitched outside off stump by Murali and ended up guiding the ball to Mahela Jayawardene at slip. Sehwag made 48.
Sehwag and Rahul Dravid tried to consolidate the Indian innings after the loss of Sachin Tendulkar. The two took India’s score from 44/3 to 89/3 at the end of the 20th over. After his century against Bermuda, Sehwag seemed to have regained some confidence. He played some stand and deliver strokes which have been associate with him over the years. He hit Vaas for a huge over his head and even dispatched a doosra from Murali for a four. Sehwag could have been gone for 38 but a valiant diving effort from Kumar Sangakkara went in vain. Dilhara Fernando was the unlucky bowler.
At the other end, Dravid managed to hit a couple of boundaries of Fernando - a flick through mid-wicket and another one to square-leg but that apart, he was just busy rotating the strike.
Fernando dealt a major blow to India’s chances sending back Sachin Tendulkar for a duck. Tendulkar offered a front foot defense to an incoming Fernando delivery but the ball nipped back enough to beat him and crash into the stumps. Tendulkar’s dismissal left India wobbling at 44/3 in the 12th over.
India had already lost the in-form Sourav Ganguly to a brilliant catch by Muralitharan in the previous over. Ganguly was kept quiet for a while and tried to counter attack going down the pitch to Vaas. Unfortunately for India, he only ended up finding Murali at mid-on.
Virender Sehwag came into join Ganguly after Robin Uthappa’s dismissal and immediately got into boundary hitting mode.
Sehwag drove Vaas past cover and then banged one back over his head in the 9th over. Next over, he hit Fernando to third-man for another boundary as India made 42/1 in their first 10 overs.
Vaas sent back Uthappa brilliantly caught and bowled for 18 as India made a very slow start reaching 25/1 after 7 overs.
Uthappa got a reprieve when Muralitharan failed to get under a difficult chance offered by him off the bowling of Vaas. He made good use of that life immediately driving Vaas for a 4 through covers and them lofting him straight down the ground.
Except for those couple of boundaries, Vaas and Malinga maintained a good line and length and did not let India get away to a flying start.
Earlier, Sri Lanka made 254/6 in their allotted 50 overs.