Sri Lanka - England World Cup quarter-final could be Muralitharan's last ODI

By Staff Writers

Muttiah Muralitharan
Sri Lankan cricket fans hope that next Saturday's quater-final won't be Muttiah Muralitharan's last One-Day match. AFP PHOTO/Ishara S. KODIKARA.

March 20, 2011 (Island Cricket): Co-hosts Sri Lanka will meet England in their quarter-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 tournament next week.

West Indies’ defeat against India today in Chennai has slotted India against title defenders Australia in Ahmedabad on March 24 in their quarter-final.

Pakistan will play West Indies on March 23 in the first quarter-final of the tournament in Mirpur and New Zealand will meet South Africa in the third quarter-final on March 25 at the same venue.

The fourth quarter-final, on March 26 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo will be played out between England and Sri Lanka.

Since 2001, Sri Lanka have won six of their nine ODIs played against England on home soil but England’s last tour to the island will be a source of inspiration for them. They won a five-match ODI series 3-2 then, under Paul Collinwood’s leadership, and will hope now to replicate that success under Andrew Strauss.

As the teams enter the elimination round of the tournament, there is a possibility that next weekend’s quarter-final will be the last time the world will witness Muttiah Muralitharan in an ODI. The legendary spinner, now 38 years old, has announced that he will be retiring from limited overs cricket after the World Cup.

England's top order batsman Ian Bell recognised the importance of countering Muralitharan and the challenge of playing in Sri Lanka.

“We're pretty excited about playing Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka,” Bell told reporters today in India.

“Sri Lanka is a big challenge. But we've had success there in the recent past, and we hope we can do it again.

“We're going to have to play Murali well,” he added.

“But we have [Eoin] Morgan back. [He is] a quality player of spin in the middle order, which will help us."

England’s World Cup record against Sri Lanka is impressive. They have won six of their eight encounters against the 1996 World Cup champions. A majority of those victories, however, came before 1996 (when Sri Lanka became a force to be reckoned with).

The English have also not toured the island since October 2007 and the pitch at the R. Premadasa Stadium has proven to be a handful. In the last match played there between Pakistan and Australia, inconsistent bounce troubled batsmen from both sides, resulting in Australia’s lowest total of the tournament and Pakistan requiring 41 overs for the loss of six wickets to chase down a paltry 176 set by Australia.

Scoring 363 runs at an average of 121.0, Sri Lankan skipper Sangakkara finished the group stages as the highest run-scorer of the tournament but the elegant left-hander will be under pressure, leading his side for the first time in a World Cup quarter-final and playing in front of a home crowd.

The fourth quarter-final of the World Cup will be played out between Sri Lanka and England on March 26 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

© Island Cricket


Sulaimaan's picture
Member since:
3 December 2010
Last activity:
2 years 11 weeks

I dont think playing in Sri Lanka would give us any overall advantage. Suppose Sanga lost the toss on Saturday????????????
Playing in India or Bangladesh would have given us an even playing field, minus the home crowd support.

Marcian's picture
Member since:
8 December 2010
Last activity:
35 weeks 1 day

Thats true, Sulaimaan. If Sanga loses the toss, we will have to restrict England to around 220 or less, ideally under 200; chasing down 260 plus will be mighty difficult with the spin of Swann, Tredwell, Yardy (if he plays) and with the cutters of Collingwood and Luke wright (if he plays).

The pitch at RPS is unfair! I think one of the four strips (for the WC)is okay - the one which we played the warm-up match against WI.

Maybe they will prepare that strip for the the quater-final and semi-final.

yohan perera's picture


Sanki8OH8's picture
Member since:
27 March 2010
Last activity:
4 years 40 weeks

Very true, I also thought that if he got to play in India, we wouldn't have to worry so much on the toss. Anyway, with the English attack, I think that we'll be able to chase around 250 under lights.

ahmad sheiner's picture

having analysed most of pitchs at da RPS ...Itz quite embrasing the way it behaved on da ausei n pak watch...
I guss it was purpously prepared with a no watering law plus a full dead grass removed 1 bx 1...they wanted to favour da mst outragous pace attack in dis CWC the pakz
comin 2 da fact tht england have won a series way back in 2007 IN SL nt that of a gud reasoning tht they will find thingz easy..infact da english team lacks da karishma to face spin..
And the main campaingers who play in tht series ar nw nt in da seen..
I also dought da english blowing fleet which is yet to prove itz wrothy of having selectors put them in to play..
I too feel tht da
toss would be da mst crutial part in saturdays' encounter.
RPS dnsnt infact favour over night chasing...
To sum up..simple ingredients da toss...bat first da game.
Anywayz letz hope that sanga n his men dnt panic 2 any situation

Cricketer's picture
Member since:
21 March 2011
Last activity:
7 years 23 weeks

Don't worry guys Sanga will show his best colors in this battle (in the sense there is no battle with Englishman)to reach the trophy, All the best Sang and the team !!!! Please guys give your encouragement to our team !!!!

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
11 hours 29 min

Its a shame SL havent got the pitch at the RPS right to date with the focus been on the toss - that's simply not on. Its been up and down and doing strage things but hopefully the needful is being done for the all important quarter final. The irony of it all is if there is a normal SL/sub-continental wicket SL would probably beat Eng most of the time but this up and down wicket makes it difficult to maintain consistancy and chasing becomes a nighmare.

Well having said all of that its two games from a WC final!!

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
11 hours 18 min

Our middle order will have to fire regardless of what track we are given or how the toss plays out.

If Samaraweera and Silva can contribute and two of the top four fire, we can chase down anything.

In the last two years how many ODI games have Silva and Samaraweera played for SL? Yet, we are relying on them heavily in this WC.

We made a mistake by not picking the WC squad early and sticking with those players. That's just to make sure all these guys were in good nick and secure of their places in the team before the WC.

Herath played so little for SL in ODIs but he was picked. If they were going to play Herath in the WC, they should have given him more opportunities in the months ahead of the WC. The same applies to some of the others in the side.

Samaraweera wasn't in the ODI side till a few months before the WC.

st's picture

now instead of practising cricket i think sanga should atleast throw the coins some 1 lakh times and should find which side heads or tail is falling more often.and he should call that side.

cricketzap's picture

Awesome posting, I am thinking that after this world cup most of seniors players who are in the respective team will retire.

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