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Top Performer of Final ODI - Coca-Cola Cup (Sri Lanka)

Russel Arnold
Russel Arnold

Born:25 October 1973, Colombo
Major Teams:Nondescripts Cricket Club, Sri Lanka.
Known As:Russel Arnold
Batting Style:Left Hand Bat
Bowling Style:Right Arm Off Break
Match pictures:
Russel Arnold
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Match Stats - Batting
Balls faced45
Strike rate115.56
Scoring shots30
Match Stats - Bowling


Coca-Cola Cup
India v Sri Lanka
[ Scorecard | Report]
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Sri Lanka met a resurgent India in the final of the triangular ODI series for the Coca-Cola Cup at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday. India were on a roll after clinching a place in the final with three consecutive victories, which included back to back wins against Sri Lanka. which in turn gave them a lot of confidence going into the final.

Sanath Jayasuriya won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch that was full of runs. Posting a huge total was clearly the idea and the Sri Lankan players went about their task with such ease that the Indian bowling looked completely helpless with the exception of Harbhajan Singh (10-0-29-2). Sri Lanka were 204/3 in 35 overs after they lost their skipper Jayasuriya for a well-made 99.

There was still a lot of work to be done to post a big total and in walked the in form Russel Arnold to join Mahela Jayawardene. Arnold has been a revelation to Sri Lankan cricket, always producing the goods when it mattered most, be it with the bat or the ball. Not any more is he the unsung hero; Arnold is our Top Performer of the final.

Arnold and Jayawardene tried to steady the Sri Lankan innings after the fall of Jayasuriya and took the score to 218 in the 40th over. In a moment of sheer madness, Jayawardene tried to reverse sweep Harbhajan Singh and was adjudged lbw. It could have opened the floodgates and a collapse of the innings could not have been ruled out. Arnold and Romesh Kaluwitharana first ensured safety and then glory with some attractive batting. Arnold was quite severe on the bowling, striking half a dozen boundaries. A deft late cut off the bowling of Shewag signaled that he was in good touch. In the 47th over bowled by Nehra, Arnold stepped on the gas with two consecutive powerfully struck boundaries through mid-wicket. In the following over from Zaheer Khan, two more boundaries were struck. Arnold was in a hurry and reached his half-century off just 42 balls. His quicksilver innings of 52 came off just 45 balls.

When India started the run chase of 296 for a win, Arnold struck early. The potential match winner Virender Shewag was brilliantly run out by Arnold with a direct hit. Next to go was Sourav Ganguly, another big wicket, easily caught by Arnold at point. He struck the next big blow by cleaning up Yuvraj Singh (6) with a faster delivery. Later, he snapped up the catch of Harbhajan Singh, standing at silly point under the helmet. Truly a match winning performance which helped Sri Lanka to win the Coca-Cola Cup by a thumping margin of 121 runs.

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