Cricket World Cup

Sri Lanka farewells Muralitharan as Dilshan and Tendulkar set up epic final

World Cup Rewind, The Semi-Finals

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A decade on from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, we are reliving all the best bits from the semi-finals of the incredible tournament.

New Zealand 217 v Sri Lanka 220/5 (47.5 overs) – Sri Lanka won by five wickets

Sri Lanka dominated with both bat and ball to reach the World Cup final with a convincing win over New Zealand.

Every single batsman in the Kiwi top six reached double figures, but they just couldn’t get going against the quality of the Sri Lankan attack. It was very much a collective effort with the ball, with Lasith Malinga finishing with 3/55 and Ajantha Mendis taking 3/35.

In reply, a superb 120-run partnership between Tillakaratne Dilshan (73) and Kumar Sangakkara (54) broke the back of the chase. And although Tim Southee made the hosts sweat with his three-wicket effort, there were still 13 balls remaining when Thilan Samaraweera hit the winning runs.

It was an all-around outstanding performance from the Sri Lankan side, but the headlines were saved for Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 2/42 in his final international match on Sri Lankan soil and was carried from the field on the shoulders of his team-mates.

“We really wanted to give him a good send-off,” said captain Sangakkara to the capacity crowd in Colombo. “Murali is the icon of Sri Lanka, on the field, off the field, a fantastic human being and a great team man."

India 260/9 v Pakistan 231 (49.5 overs) – India won by 29 runs

Sachin Tendulkar’s classy 85 proved the difference as bowlers dominated in this meeting of India and Pakistan. The hosts got off to an absolute flyer as Virender Sehwag smashed 38 off 25 balls, with Tendulkar flowing at the other end. It was an outstanding start, but the momentum was short-lived, as Wahab Riaz’s 5/46 helped Pakistan pull the innings back under control.

India’s 260 felt slightly below par, particularly after such a strong start. But the Indian bowling attack produced by far their best display of the tournament to stifle Pakistan’s chase with a collectively controlled performance. All five bowlers – Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh – took two wickets, with Pakistan struggling to pick up momentum throughout. Misbah-ul-Haq top-scored with 56, but his was the last wicket to fall from the penultimate ball of the 50 overs as Pakistan fell 29 runs short.

Losing captain Shahid Afridi was magnanimous after such a frustrating defeat, saying: "First of all I'd like to congratulate the Indian cricket team and the Indian nation for this great victory, and wish them all the best for the final. They played better than us. We didn't make partnerships, we played some irresponsible shots, and a partnership was crucial. I want to say sorry to my nation. We tried our level best, and we enjoyed ourselves at this tournament."

Tendulkar was named man-of-the-match for what proved to be the crucial knock, and the Indian legend’s performance set up a showpiece final against Sri Lanka at his home ground in Mumbai.

"Going back to Mumbai for this event is going to be a wonderful occasion," Tendulkar said in his post-match interview. "We've got to be calm and focussed. This has been memorable, and something I will cherish all through my life."


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