ICC Cricket World Cup - South Africa 2003






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Also check out other Man of the Match from today: [Zimbabwe v Netherlands]

Chaminda Vaas: Vital blows against the West Indies

Chaminda Vaas
Reuters
As Percy Abeysekera, Sri Lanka's colourful flag bearer, would say: "Vaas, you're class!"

Chaminda Vaas, still just 29, has held together Sri Lanka's fast bowling for the last decade.

Murali might grab the lion's share of the limelight but Vaas is an equally important cog in the Sri Lanka attack. Indeed, Murali would surely not have claimed as many as 309 one-day victims had it not been for the probing accuracy and skill of Sri Lanka's finest new ball bowler.

Vaas's job is to nip out a top-order wicket or two and then build up the pressure, forcing the opposition to take liberties against the Sri Lanka spin king. The vastly experienced pair, who have taken 570 one-day wickets between them, feed of each other and when both are on song Sri Lanka become a formidable outfit.

Usually, though, it is Murali who ends up hogging the limelight, but such has Vaas's form in this World Cup been that he has even managed to put the off-spinning great in the shade.

After going wicketless in his team's first match against New Zealand, Vaas came into his own with a unique hat-trick against Bangladesh, which saw him claim wickets off the first three deliveries of the match. Since then, Vaas has been unstoppable, claiming as many as 16 wickets in the remaining four matches that Sri Lanka has played. Even in the match against Kenya that Sri Lanka lost, Vaas did his bit, claiming 3/41 in 10 probing overs.

On Saturday, Vaas, an enthusiastic amateur vocalist, who once disclosed a desire to become a catholic priest, was yet again at his wicket-taking best against the West Indies.

He bowled two incisive spells, finishing with four wickets for 22 runs from his ten overs and playing a crucial role in helping his side notch up a thrilling six-run win.

The left-armer's first spell, during which he suckered opener Wavell Hinds into playing across the line and lulled becalmed Brian Lara into an expansive drive, pegged back the West Indians early on.

But it was his crucial reverse-swinging second spell, coming at a stage when the West Indies appeared to cruising towards victory at 121/3, that swung the game decisively towards Sri Lanka, as an indipper trapped top-scorer Chris Gayle lbw before Ridley Jacobs was dubiously adjudged caught at the wicket second ball.

With Murali dismissing Ricardo Powell in the very next over, the Sri Lankans were soon on top and though Ramnaresh Sarwan and Vasbert Drakes made a spirited effort towards the end, the men from the Emearld Isles could not be denied a win that almost takes them through to the Super Sixes.



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