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Published: Sunday, July 22, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lanka batted and bowled aggressively to crush New Zealand by 106 runs and qualify for the final of the triangular One-day cricket series on Tuesday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]New Zealand, chasing 222 off its allotted 36 overs in a rain-hit match, collapsed against Sri Lanka's pace-spin combination to finish at 115 for nine, extras being the top-scorer with 25.New Zealand total was one run less than its lowest (116 at Moratuwa in 1984) against the hosts in 50 matches.New Zealand was in danger of falling to its lowest score in One-dayers, 64 against Pakistan at Sharjah in 1985-86, after being reduced to 57 for eight at one stage, but Chris Harris (18) and Kyle Mills (18 not out) then put on 26 for the ninth wicket.The last-wicket pair of Mills and Darryl Tuffey (20 not out) chanced their arms in the closing overs to help their team cross the 100-mark. The highest stand of the innings was 39 for the sixth wicket between Dion Nash (23) and Harris.Sri Lanka, with eight points from five matches, will meet India in its last game on Wednesday. New Zealand and India have four and two points, respectively.Middle-order batsman Mahela Jayawardene and left-arm fast bowler Chaminda Vaas ( three for 20) played big roles in Sri Lanka's fourth win.Jayawardene, who scored just 19 in his last four matches, returned to form with a quick fire 58.Man-of-the-match Vaas and Dharmasena (two for 16) then reduced the match to a no-contest with their three and two wicket hauls, respectively.New Zealand's woes began in the third over when Vaas trapped opener Matthew Sinclair leg-before and, one ball later, had Jacob Oram caught by lone-slip Russel Arnold.Vaas struck again, finding the edge of skipper Stephen Fleming's bat and Avishka Gunawardene making no mistake in the slips. Sri Lanka virtually wrapped up the match when it removed Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan in the eighth over to send New Zealand reeling at 18 for five.Dharmasena dismissed Adam Parore and Daniel Vettori off successive deliveries, but Mills survived the hat-trick ball. In contrast, the Sri Lanka batting, led by Jayawardene, flourished from the opening over after New Zealand had won the toss and elected to field. Jayawardene struck two sixes and four boundaries in his half-century. He was instrumental in Sri Lanka scoring 96 runs in the last 11 overs with a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket off 57 balls with Marvan Atapattu.Atapattu contributed a 39-ball 34, which included a six over long-off off medium-pacer Nash. The New Zealand fielding left a lot to be desired under pressure, as Sinclair dropped left-handed opener Gunawardene on 31 at mid-wicket off Harris.McMillan then failed to hold onto a mistimed pull by Atapattu on 26 off Nash at the same position. The hosts signalled their intentions from the first over with skipper Sanath Jayasuriya lofting fast bowler Tuffey for a one-bounce four.Jayasuriya however fell when on 20, flicking Mills to Tuffey at short fine-leg. There was no respite for New Zealand though as Gunawardene (38), Romesh Kaluwitharana (25), Atapattu and Arnold (22 not out) batted aggressively.Gunawardene and Kaluwitharana put on 57 for the second wicket off 62 balls and then Jayawardene went on the rampage in the closing overs.

Copyright AFP 2001

SL humiliates NZ on its way to final

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