The BLACKCAPS have severely dented Sri Lanka’s chances of making the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy with the 38 run win at The Wanderders, Johannesburg.
Sri Lanka now relies on England beating both South Africa and New Zealand while maintaining the best net run-rate. The equation is simple for the BLACKCAPS – beat England in two day time and they are through.
The BLACKCAPS got off to a flyer after losing the toss and being put into bat, putting on 125 for the first wicket – a record fifth time Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum have shared a 100 run stand.
Ryder suffered a groin injury in the fifth over and required a runner. This was the catalyst for an onslaught that saw him smash 74 runs including 10 fours and a six. It was the fastest half century of the tournament with his first 50 coming from only 28 balls.
The loss of Ryder triggered a collapse with McCullum dismissed for 46, Ross Taylor for two and Grant Elliott for a duck to have the BLACKCAPS 140 for four.
Martin Guptill and Neil Broom slowly went about rebuilding the innings but just as they started to look comfortable Broom tamely lobbed a short and wide delivery to backward point bringing Daniel Vettori to the crease with twenty overs still remaining.
In contrast to the middle order, Vettori made batting look easy - working the singles and hitting the bad balls to the boundary. At the other end Guptill was happy to support his captain, contributing only 16 runs in a sixth wicket partnership yielding 69 runs.
Vettori fine knock of 48 off 44 came to an end when he chipped a ball to long-on but he had done his job by reviving the inning by taking the score from 161 for five to 230 for six.
Another useful fifty run partnership developed between Gupill and James Franklin before Guptill was bowled by a trademark Lasith Malinga Yorkers for 66 off 76. It was a well paced innings from Guptill who put a high value on his wicket early before cutting loose in the powerplay overs.
Useful cameos from Franklin (27*) and Kyle Mills (18*) capped off the BLACKCAPS innings as they reached 315 – their highest score against Sri Lanka in a One-Day International.
Sri Lanka came out with all guns blazing as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya pounded the opening bowlers to all parts, putting on 66 runs off 47 balls.
It was the introduction of Daryl Tuffey, with the uncanny ability to take a wicket in his first over, who got the breakthrough - dismissing Jayasuriya for 24.
The next over Mills had the other danger man, Dilshan, caught on the boundary for 41, swinging the momentum back the BLACKCAPS way.
Sangakkara didn’t last long, caught at first slip off the bowling of Franklin for 11 and when Vettori had Thilan Samaraweera for 18 Sri Lanka were looking shaky at 114 for four.
The run-out of Thilina Kandamby compounded the problems and at the halfway stage of their innings they had lost half their wickets at 137 for five.
Mahela Jayawardene fought back valiantly but kept losing partners and when he was bowled by Vettori for 77 all hope of a Sri Lankan victory were lost.
Nuwan Kulasekara was rewarded for playing his shots with a half century as the rest of the tail failed to make an impression as Sri Lanka were all out for 277 to lose by 38 runs.
Tuffey was at his fiery best with figures of two for 39 and unlucky to have two catches dropped off his bowling.
Mills took three for 69 with Vettori and Franklin taking two apiece.
The BLACKCAPS play their final pool play match is against England on Tuesday 29th September (local time), Wednesday 30th September (NZ time).