WC 2003 - Lankan warriors fight it out to secure semis spot

Published: Friday, February 21, 2003, 3:36 [IST]
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East London: Marvan Atapattu made an unbeaten century as Sri Lanka defeated Zimbabwe by 74 runs on Saturday to qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup.

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Chasing Sri Lanka's 256 for five, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 182 in 41.5 overs with star batsman Andy Flower suffering a disappointing end to his international career when he was given out leg before wicket for 38 despite seeming to get an inside edge.Sri Lanka takes on reigning champions Australia in Tuesday's first semi-final at Port Elizabeth, while India play Kenya in the second semi-final at Durban on Thursday.

Zimbabwe was on course for a win which would have denied Sri Lanka its place in the last four, and lifted New Zealand instead, when Flower was at the crease with his brother Grant.They took the total to 140 in the 29th over before Andy Flower was out.His dismissal started a collapse in which Zimbabwe lost its last seven wickets for 42 runs.Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya, braving a chipped thumb in his bowling hand, took three for 30.

Earlier, Atapattu carried his bat through with an unbeaten 103, his 10th One-day International century. It was a restrained innings and at one stage it seemed unlikely Sri Lanka would make a competitive total as it adopted a cautious approach, scoring only 140 off the first 35 overs.Sangakkara lifted the scoring rate by hammering 35 off 25 balls after being dropped at deep mid-wicket by Douglas Hondo off Sean Ervine when he had six.

Sri Lanka struggled at the start of its innings against steady bowling by Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak and Andy Blignaut, who bowled throughout the first 15 overs while Sri Lanka laboured to 52 for the loss of Jayasuriya.Atapattu and left-hander Avishka Gunawardena, who was picked ahead of out-of-form Mahela Jayawardene, put on 83 for the second wicket to provide a solid foundation for the innings.

Atapattu shared stands of 53 with Aravinda de Silva (25) and 52 with Sangakkara before reaching his century off the third ball of the final over of the innings after facing 125 balls.Atapattu gave his only chance when he skied Hondo off the last ball of the innings but was dropped by wicket-keeper Tatendu Taibu. Streak was Zimbabwe's most successful bowler, taking two for 40 in 10 overs.Copyright AFP 2001

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