Sri Lanka crash out of World Cup with dismal showing

By Nick Mulvenney | March 18, 2015

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The quarter-final match was Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene's final One-Day International appearance. © Reuters

All-rounder JP Duminy claimed a hat-trick as South Africa stormed into the World Cup semi-finals with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

The victory in the last eight clash was South Africa's first in a knockout match at a World Cup and earned them a date with New Zealand or West Indies in Auckland next week with a spot in the final up for grabs.

The Proteas will probably have to win the semi-final to finally bury their reputation as World Cup 'chokers' but they went some way to removing the tag with the rout of the 1996 champions, who they restricted to 133 runs off 37.2 overs.

Under-fire opener Quinton de Kock led the way with an unbeaten 78 from 57 balls as the South Africans comfortably reached their target with 32 overs to spare at the cost of only the wicket of Hashim Amla.

After losing the toss and being sent into the field, South Africa's highly rated but under-performing pace attack quickly removed both openers but it was spin-bowling that did the most damage to Sri Lanka's cause.

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Sri Lanka uncharacteristically collapsed to spin. © Reuters

Duminy took three for 29 and Imran Tahir four for 26, the pair combining to break the back of the Sri Lanka innings with four wickets at the cost of just two runs in three overs to reduce the islanders to 116-8.

The spell included the ninth World Cup hat-trick, Duminy dismissing Angelo Mathews (19) with the final ball of the 33rd over and returning to send back Nuwan Kulasekara (1) and debutant Tharindu Kaushal (0) with the first two deliveries of the 35th.

When Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed soon afterwards, Sri Lanka's hopes of reaching a third successive World Cup final looked all but gone.

Sangakkara, who had been looking for a record fifth successive century, scored a measured 45 but was forced to throw off the shackles as the wickets tumbled around him and holed out in the deep off paceman Morne Morkel.

A heavy shower appeared out of the blue as if to mourn the final one-day innings of one of the game's great batsmen and the players came off the pitch for a 23-minute rain break.

It only delayed the inevitable, however, and de Kock and Amla were soon at the crease playing with the freedom allowed to a batsman chasing such a low target.

Amla departed for 16 but de Kock and Faf du Plessis (21 not out) ensured that skipper AB de Villiers, who scored 162 not out in his last innings at the SCG last month, could keep his powder dry for challenges to come.

Tahir's four victims included Mahela Jayawardene to leave the other retiring Sri Lanka batting great with a tally of four runs in his final innings in the 50-over format.

© Reuters

 

Comments

KingMoney's picture

Sanath and Atapattu Should GO. I hope they have the decency to vacate their positions.

Atapattu is a disaster!. How many times our middle order has collapsed? It is a shame! I believe that Atapattu has hit less than 10 sixes in his entire career. How can he be a coach of a game where 4's and 6's are the order of the day. Thank god that Vaas is leaving.

Rabantha's picture

I definitely can guarantee the curse of the dismal play by Sri Lankan cricket players, It's the animal killing involve in the so called Crab business of Sanga and Mahela. For the sake of Sri Lanka as a Buddhist country or not even Buddhist country, for the sake of innocent animal and compassion this is totally unnecessary business to earn income by using their popularity to earn money by killing any kind of animals for living or hobby for them. Sanga and Mahela have to agree that they both cause the curse for Sri Lanka on the world cup through their inappropriate animal killing promotion of crab business. Because I know to be honest, Upto T20 Worldcup I was supporting sri lanka whithout knowing their (duo) crab business, and after T20 World cup news revealed to the world that Sanga and Mahela involve in Crab Business, and I was shocked and so disappointed. Afterwards the duo didn't got my blessings at all but I wanted Sri Lanka to win each time. So now me and many of compassionate people like me have to accept Sanga and Mahela cause the curse for Sri Lanka on this 2015 Cricket World Cup.

AnonAnon's picture

Sending Kusal to open was the starting point of this disaster.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Thiri and Dilshan were doing fine opening the innings but why did they suddenly change the opening combination? I'm guessing they thought Kusal might hammer Steyn again like he did in the T20 WC but how can you gamble like that in a QF, especially when you've already taken the risk of playing two newbies in a do-or-die match? To add to that, Kusal played an 'alright' innings batting at No. 6 in the previous match, so WHY?

The only counter-argument is that Thiri kept edging it to slip at the beginning of his innings but we didn't have any other better batsmen in the squad to open the batting. The perennial edger - Tharanga - is no use and he didn't have any match practice; Kusal was out of form but did OK at No. 6 when he had the freedom to swing his arms and take advantage of the old ball, in the death overs.

So, WHY?!?!?!

Selectors need to take most of the blame for this embarrassment. Thanks to injuries, we got close to the squad that should have been selected in the first place but that same factor took important player like Chandimal and Herath out of the side. Chandimal's injury came at the worst possible time and one could even argue that it cost us this game as well as the Australia match, because Chandi looked like he was taking the game away from the Aussies with the fastest 50 by a Sri Lankan in a WC (before Angie broke that record in the next match!) and if he was still in the side, we wouldn't have been obliged to call Kusal in to the side, resulting in making him unnecessarily open the batting.

No point in crying over spilt milk now (after I said all of that!), so looking forward to the next WC with a young (and hopefully better) team. Good luck!

Anonymous's picture

Dumb Batting. The entire cricket set up needs to be overhauled. Ex Cricketers need to get involved and give some direction.

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