6th Match: New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 17 Apr 2001
Mahmood Ahmad

Sri Lanka innings: 15 - Overs, 30 - Overs, 50 - Overs,
Pre-game: Pre - Match,
New Zealand innings: 15 - Overs, 30 - Overs, 50 - Overs,


With hopes of victory beginning to fade by the fall of Jayasuriya early in the innings and almost vanishing by the time Jayawardene lost his concentration, the Sri Lankan tail applied a defensive approach, never giving a serious thought to the run-chasing prospect. The last 20 overs, thus, turned out to be a dull affair, with run scoring having become batsmen’s second preference, the first being saving their wickets.

Getting together at 98 for seven in the 30th over, Samaraweera and Vaas defied New Zealand attack for as long as about 16 overs, with only 17 coming off the first ten overs of their association.

While Vaas was totally bogged down by some tight bowling by the New Zealanders, Samaraweera displayed some innovation by hitting a few boundaries, especially against Harris.

This cat and mouse game came to end at last in the 47th over. Going for an adventurous single, Samaraweera was run out at the striker’s end after McMillan had fielded well in the covers. The off spinner, playing his first match of the tournament, scored 27 (70 balls) with the help of three boundaries.

Vaas and Zoysa added an unbeaten 31 for the 9th wicket in less than three overs, as both left-armers went some lusty hits at the fag end of the match, much to the relief of their fans. The last over of the innings, bowled by McMillan, yielded 20 runs, with Zoysa blasting the skipper for a four and a six of consecutive deliveries.

Vaas also got into the act, smashing the last ball of the innings to mid wicket fence for his first four. He remained not out on 24 (53 balls), whereas Zoysa ended up with 19 (14 balls) against his name.

Sinclair, with a magnificent 118 not out off 137 balls, and Mills, with his excellent figures of 3 for 30, providing early breakthroughs for his side, were the main contestants for the player of the match award. The award was, however, split for the first time during the tournament, with judges recognizing both as match-winning performances.

A rejuvenated Pakistan meets a potentially potent Sri Lanka in the finals, to be played on Friday, April 20.


The downslide starting with the fall of three early wickets continued unabatedly as Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals, finding themselves in deep commotion at 98 for 7 by the 30th over.

Kyle Mills, who is certainly having a very good time in the middle, featured in yet another dismissal, this time in the capacity of fielder.

After adding a patient 41 for the 4th wicket with Jayawardene, Indika de Saram lifted off spinner Bradburn to long on, only to find the lanky Mills jump full length in the air and bring about an amazing catch right on the rope. The third umpire had to be called for confirmation after the batsman showed hesitation to go. De Saram made 11 off 20 balls.

After that it was almost touch and go for the Sri Lankan batsmen. Next to depart was Sangakarra after being adjudged lbw off Harris for 6 (12 balls).

Arnold’s stay in the middle was for just 9 balls. The left-hander was run out off a direct throw from Bell. He made just 1, with the Sri Lankan card cutting a sorry figure of 91 for 6 by the 25th over.

Jayawardene, who had meanwhile been a witness to this procession of wickets, at last lost his concentration, becoming Bradburn’s second victim. He made 41 off 55 before offering the bowler the simplest of catches.

With seven wickets down and hundred of the innings not up yet, the Sri Lanka tail face a tough fight ahead. A loss in this match is going to have a negative effect on their morale – certainly not a good omen before the final.


The first fifteen overs of the Sri Lankan innings provided a tense battle between bat and ball, with New Zealand attack, led by Kyle Mills, giving minimum of liberty to the batsmen to play shots. The right-handed pace man, hitherto a relatively unknown commodity, was rewarded for his hard work with three important wickets, including that of the Sri Lankan captain.

Having started off in his usual belligerent manner, hitting two boundaries off Tuffey’s first over, Jayasuriya got a double break in the second over of the innings.

After enduring a very close lbw appeal off a Mills-yorker on the very first ball, he edged the next one to the right of Nevin, only to see the wicket keeper putting down a difficult chance. Mills bowled tidily, giving nothing away but a single in that over.

The unlucky Mills got another opportunity to dismiss the Sri Lankan skipper in his next over. It was a deceptive slower one from Mills and Jayasuriya went tentatively at it, ending up driving uppishly back to the bowler who just failed to grab on to it.

Mills didn’t have to wait long before finding success. He was duly rewarded for his efforts with Kaluwitharana’s wicket. The Sri Lankan wicket keeper was clean bowled before opening his account, having faced 10 balls. The Sri Lankan scoreboard showed a very uncharacteristic 15 for 1 after 6 overs.

The next over from Tuffey saw Atapattu driving handsomely for a four to bring up his 4000 runs in 125th ODI. However, he didn’t stay long after that, as a fiery Mills struck again, producing a perfect leg cutter to find a thick edge to the keeper. The Sri Lankan vice-captain scored 5 off 16 balls.

Jayasuriya hit one more boundary before his luck at last left him. After surviving yet another inside edge that went past the wicket for four to fine leg, the skipper spooned the ball into the covers. Walker, the 12th man on for Sinclair, moved a few paces to his left before taking a marvelous diving catch. The left-handed opener made 25 off 44 with the help of 3 boundaries.

Sri Lanka have reached 44 for three in 15 overs, one of slowest starts seen during the tournament. At the crease are Jayawardene and de Saram batting on 5 each.

Mills have bowled excellently for his 7 overs, taking three wickets for just 11 runs. The way his bowling at the moment, chances are that the New Zealand captain would persist with him for some more overs.


New Zealand failed to capitalize fully from a magnificent third-wicket partnership of 141 between Sinclair and Bell, losing wickets at regular intervals, and helping little to their cause of accelerating the scoring rate in the final overs. Sinclair, thus, might be left wondering if another of his century, having garnishing the record books, has failed to bring victory for his side.

Running out of partners at the other end without any worthwhile contributions, Sinclair carried on with tenacity, reaching his hundred, the second of the tournament after a magnificent 117 against Pakistan, off 124 balls hitting 5 boundaries and a six.

After his mammoth partnership with Bell, he went on to add 26 for the 3rd wicket with McMillan. The New Zealand skipper failed yet again to come up to the expectations of his fans, scoring just 17 off 18 balls, before holing out to Samaraweera in the deep.

Oram was also caught in the deep by the same fielder off Muralitharan. The burly left-hander got just 2 off 12 balls. Chris Harris, the next man on the crease, helped New Zealand get past the 200-run mark in the 44th over. However, he didn’t stay long after that, as going for a straight drive, he gave a return catch to Jayasuriya.

Sinclair, meanwhile, completed a well-deserved hundred off 124 balls and then went on to find a few boundaries along with Adams in the end to post 248 on the board.

Sinclair remained not out on 118 off 139 balls, hitting 5 fours and 2 sixes. Adams hit one four and a huge six off Zoysa to remain unbeaten on 13 off 6 balls.

The Black Caps will now have to restrict Sri Lanka to a score below 86 in order to surpass them on net run rate and book a place in the final of the tournament.


Sinclair and Bell added 141 for the 2nd wicket in about 30 overs to set pace for a big New Zealand score. Bell was the only man out in this session after making a fine 66, his highest in one-day cricket, before giving his wicket away while going for a highly ambitious shot.

The feature of Sinclair-Bell partnership was, without doubt, their excellent running between wickets and to some extent their improvisation. Both went for quite a few unorthodox shots, not hesitating to come down the wicket even against Muralitharan; Sinclair even tried a reverse sweep off the off spinner for a beautiful boundary to point.

However, it was such an ambitious shot which led to Bell’s demise after an entertaining 66 off 97 balls (6 fours). Coming down the track for what seemed to be the umpteenth time, Bell completely missed Arnold’s line, only to be stumped by an alert Kaluwitharana behind the stumps.

Earlier, Bell reached his first fifty in ODI’s, in the 22nd over the innings, after facing 71 balls. Actually, this over from Samarweera had a few more big things in store for New Zealand.

Apart from completing a well-deserved fifty off a single from the very first ball, Bell also brought up the hundred of the New Zealand innings. Also with this single, both batsmen had posted the hundred for the second wicket partnership, a very important one considering they had lost their first wicket with nothing on the board in terms of runs.

There was more to come in this over. Sinclair drove the fourth ball from the off spinner for a single to deep mid wicket, bringing up his second fifty of the tournament. Compared to his partner, he grafted his innings with much more authority, taking just 58 balls to reach the landmark that contained 4 fours and a six.

With 20 overs still remaining in the innings and 8 wickets intact, New Zealand would be looking for a total in excess of 275. However, this requires Sinclair and McMillan to stay for as long at the crease as possible.


Sinclair and Bell made a slow yet steady progress, salvaging the New Zealand innings after losing Nevin on the very first ball of the innings. The belligerent opener, top scoring in the last match against Pakistan, failed this time around, as he edged Vaas down to Kaluwitharana behind the stumps for naught.

With Nevin gone early, their were no fireworks in the New Zealand innings, rather we saw a very ordinary start, with both Sinclair and Bell batting apparently in an attempt to consolidate the innings.

The first boundary came in the second over, as Sinclair flicked one from Zoysa off his pads to deep square leg fence. This boundary was followed by two by Bell in Vaas’ next over. However, both these shots were off the inside edge of the bat, beating the wicket keeper before racing to fine leg rope.

The right-handed Bell, however, soon gained in confidence, hitting Vaas for a tremendous off drive for his third boundary, reaching his highest score during the series.

Sinclair, who has been middling the ball quite nicely, exhibited his class by smacking Vaas for a big six to the mid wicket fence, taking the total past 40 in the 9th over. They reached their fifty on the last ball of the 11th over, as Sinclair turned one from Vaas to deep square leg for an easy single.

Jayasuriya brought Muralitharan on for the 13th over and the spin wizard caused instant problems. He found the edge of Sinclair’s bat on only the third delivery, but the ball went just wide of the first slip. The batsmen retaliated aptly by sweeping him fine for his 2nd four of the innings.

Sinclair hit another boundary off Zoysa in the next over, a perfectly timed straight drive, racing to 36 off only 39 balls.

At the 15-over stage, New Zealand have maintained a steady average of around 4.5 per over, with Sinclair on 37 (42 balls, 3x4 1x6) and Bell on 31 (48 ball, 3x4).


Sri Lankan captain Jayasuriya has won the toss in their last league-match, and has made the unprecedented decision of electing to field first. This decision looks judicious in the background of the fact that dew is expected to play its part later in the evening.

Sri Lanka, almost assured of a place in final, go into the match with two changes. Samaraweera and Sangakarra come into the side in place of Dilharo Fernando and Dharamasena.

New Zealand, on the other hand, have opted for the all-rounder Andre Adams in place of the leggie Brooke Walker.

Playing obviously for their pride, the Black Caps are expected to go all out in the match, so as to ensure at least one victory before flying back home.

© CricInfo

Date-stamped : 17 Apr2001 - 22:28