Sri Lanka cruise to eight-wicket victory

 
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada (AP):

SRI LANKA cruised to an eight-wicket win over Ireland in the teams' last World Cup Super Eight match yesterday, easily passing a lowly victory total.

Sri Lanka, who had already been assured of their place in the semi-finals for almost a week, bowled out Ireland for a tournament low 77 before reaching 81 for two with 40 of their 50 overs to spare.

Opener Upal Thuranga fell in the opening over of Sri Lanka's reply at Grenada National Stadium. But Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 56 to seal the result.

Farveez Maharoof and Muttiah Muralitharan had each taken four wickets for Sri Lanka, with Maharoof's haul of 4-25 including the top four batsmen and three wickets in four balls.

Muralitharan, who returned to the team after being rested in Monday's defeat to Australia, finished with 4-19.

Lowest tournament total

Ireland's total was the lowest of the tournament, replacing the 78 Bermuda managed against Sri Lanka in the first round. It was also the sixth lowest total in tournament history.

However, Ireland's players took a well-deserved lap of honour after completing a first World Cup campaign that shocked everyone by stretching into the Super Eights.

Ireland got an early breakthrough when Thuranga fell for nought, cutting Boyd Rankin to William Porterfield at gully. Kumar Sangakkara was then caught off Dave Langford-Smith for 10.

Jayawardene had a let off when replacement fielder John Mooney dropped him off Rankin, but survived to reach 39 off 27 balls, including six fours and a six. Jayasuriya got 24 off 20.

The highlight of Ireland's innings was a huge late six by Langford-Smith off Maharoof, who wasonly playing because Lasith Malinga was continuing his recuperation from an ankle ligament injury in preparation for the semi-finals. It was the third game Malinga has missed.

Semi-final on tuesday

Sri Lanka, who had qualified for the semi-finals even before their seven-wicket defeat to tournament favourites Australia, are now certain to play their semi-final in Jamaica on Tuesday.

That will be against New Zealand, unless the Black Caps emphatically beat Australia tomorrow.

Sri Lanka, who also recalled Chaminda Vaas, won the toss and asked Ireland to bat first.

Openers Jeremy Bray and Porterfield looked comfortable until Maharoof came on for the eighth over.

Bray hit his first two balls for four, one a pull and one an extra cover drive. But the paceman switched to around the wicket and Bray spooned the next ball to Arnold at cover to depart for 20.

Andre Botha went two balls later for nought, caught behind by Sangakkara, and Eoin Morgan went the same way to the next delivery, the wicketkeeper taking an acrobatic one-handed catch to his left.

Porterfield then departed for 17, hitting Maharoof to Jayasuriya.

Muralitharan, who was recalled to replace Malinga Bandara, came on for the next over, the 19th, and took two wickets with three balls. Niall O'Brien got a nick to Sangakarra for four, and Kenny Carroll - a postman when he is not playing cricket - was bowled to depart for nought on his tournament debut.

Maharoof ran out Trent Johnston in the next over, picking up a fend from his own bowling and sending the ball back down the track, and Jayasuriya caught Kevin O'Brien off Muralitharan to make it 49-8.

Five wickets had fallen for four runs and it soon got worse.

Tailender Langford-Smith hit a four off Muralitharan to take Ireland past 50 from 126 balls and had a let off two overs later when he was dropped.

However, Kyle McCallan went leg before for nought the next ball and six wickets had fallen for eight runs.

Langford-Smith hit a 21-ball 18 in a last-wicket stand of 23with Boyd Rankin, before he went lbw to Vaas.

Ireland's defeat was even more rapid than last week's nine-wicket loss to Australia, when they were 91 all out and then conceded the winning runs in 12.2 overs.

It was a harsh end to the tournament for Ireland, who were never supposed to reach the Super Eights.

Ireland innings
J. Bray c Arnold b Maharoof 20

W. Porterfield c Jayasuriya

b Maharoof
17
A. Botha c Sangakkara b Maharoof 0
E. Morgan c Sangakkara b Maharoof 0

N. O'Brien c Sangakkara

b Muralitharan
4
K. O'Brien c Jayasuriya b Muralitharan 2
K. Carroll b Muralitharan 0
T. Johnston run out 0
K. McCallan lbw Muralitharan 0
D. Langford-Smith lbw b Vaas 18
B. Rankin not out 7
Extras (lb5, w2, nb2) 9
Total (all out - 27.4 overs) 77

Fall: 1-28 2-28 3-28 4-46 5-48 6-48 7-49 8-49 9-54 10-77

Bowling: Vaas 5.4-1-18-1 (1nb), Kulasekara 7-3-10-0, Maharoof 10-3-25-4 (1nb), Muralitharan 5-0-19-4 (2w).

Sri Lanka innings

U. Tharanga c Porterfield b Rankin
0
S. Jayasuriya not out 24

K. Sangakkara c Carroll

b Langford-Smith
10
M. Jayawardene not out 39
Extras (w-5, nb-3) 8
Total (for two wkts - 10 overs) 81

Fall: 1-1 2-25

Bowling: Rankin 4-0-36-1 (3nb, 2w), Langford-Smith 3-0-29-1 (3w), Botha 1-0-4-0, K.O'Brien 1-0-4-0, Carroll 1-0-8-0.Sri Lanka won by eight wickets.Man-of-match: Farveez Maharoof.

STANDINGS

P W T L NR Pts
x-Australia 6 6 0 0 0 12
x-Sri Lanka 7 5 0 2 0 10
x-New Zealand 6 5 0 1 0 10
x-South Africa 7 4 0 3 0 8
England 6 2 0 4 0 4
West Indies 5 1 0 4 0 2
Bangladesh 6 1 0 5 0 2
Ireland 7 1 0 6 0 2
x-qualified for semi-finals
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