Friday, April 13, 2007



April 13th, 2007: Quiztion of the Day - 32

New Zealand finally met its waterloo in the World Cup ending their nine ODIs winning streak including six in this tournament. The Lankans beat them comprehensively by six wickets even though they did not field their spearhead Lasith Malinga due to an ankle injury he suffered in a training session. But it did not affect Sri Lanka’s performance with Chaminda Vaas providing the initial breakthroughs. When Fleming won the toss one would have imagined he would field first so that Shane Bond can exploit early morning conditions. But in a surprise move Fleming chose to bat first and with just five deliveries into the match he must have regretted his decision. Not because the pitch offered assistance to the bowlers but for his fourth consecutive duck against Sri Lanka with the same mode of dismissal by the same bowler. Vaas claimed him lbw in each of his last four innings at Napier in 2005/06 4th ODI Fleming stay at the wicket was for 3 minutes and 2 balls, at Mumbai in 2006/07 Champions Trophy he struggled at the wicket for 23 mts and 11 balls, at Auckland in 2007 he returned for the 4th ODI after missing first three and stayed at the wicket for 10 mts and played 5 deliveries . Fleming’s innings in this World Cup match lasted for four deliveries. The Vaas syndrome basically did not let Fleming face any other Sri Lankan bowler in any of these ODIs.

Vaas’s twin blows in three deliveries pushed the kiwis to a defensive mode and occupation of crease became the primary concern than scoring runs. The innings crawled to 18 for 2 at the end of first power play as Fulton and Styris tried to repair the damage done earlier. Had the umpire not given the benefit of doubt to the batsman New Zealand would have lost Styris’s wicket when the score was 59. TV Replays clearly showed that Styris’s attempted paddle sweep of Vaas came off the bat and landed between Sangakkara’s thigh and pad for what appeared to be a legal catch. After that lucky break both Fulton and Styris seemed like settling down and started to score at a better strike rate.

But with the score reading at 71 for 2 in twentieth over Vaas struck again by inducing Peter Fulton to have a wild swing at a full length delivery that landed straight in the hands of Chamara Silva. From then on Muralitharan and Tilakaratne Dilshan took the control of the match getting wickets at better pace than the runs scored by the Kiwi batting. Scott Styris stood alone at one end while wickets fell at the other and could not help much in taking New Zealand to a defendable score. The Sri Lankan spin trio Muralitharan, Jayasuriya and Dilshan restricted the scoring so much that for a period of 30 overs (18.2 to 48.3) there were no boundary hits except a couple of sixes, one by Jacob Oram in 38th Over and another by James Franklin in 48th over. Muralitharan helped himself with figures of 3 for 32 from his allotted 10 overs.

A target of 220 was always within the reach of Sri Lanka. If New Zealand wanted that not to happen they needed two things to occur: Bond should strike big and Jayasuriya shouldn’t. Unfortunately both did not happen with Jayasuriya hitting 64 of 80 balls and Shane Bond going wicketless for 26 runs of 8 overs. Sri Lanka never looked in trouble while chasing the target. Both Jayasuriya and Sangakkara hit fifties while adding 100 runs for the second wicket. Though Sri Lanka lost two more wickets once the partnership ended they never looked in any danger of losing the match. They preferred scoring the runs in ones and twos rather than showing off with big-hitting. In the end it was a comfortable win and easy two points for Sri Lanka who now tied up at the top with Australia and New Zealand with 8 points. Of course that will be changing in less than 24 hours with Australia playing their fourth match of the Super 8s against Ireland.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka may meet one more time in this tournament as the current standings place them in second and third positions of the Super 8 points table. Both the teams might swap their positions by the time Super 8s games are completed, but most probably they will not be slipping down to fourth position. If that happens they will fight it out for a spot in the World Cup final and with Malinga in all likelihood expected to play in that match, New Zealand should better prepare themselves if they do not want to see the same kind of result.

Today’s ‘Quiztion of the Day’ relates to the same teams battling out in World Cup semi-finals after facing each other in the tournament earlier. Here it is:

Only once in the history of World Cup Cricket a team was able to reverse the result of the last match they played against another team in the same tournament when they played them again in the semi-final. Provide the details.

Remember to email your answers for each quiz individually to with the subject line as 'Quiztion of the Day - X' (X being the question number) through out the tournament duration. Results will be first posted on website within a week of the World Cup Final.


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