Sri Lanka avoided becoming the biggest ‘Chokers’ in the history of cricket for me earlier today when they things got shaky after they crashed from from 1/160 to 5/185.
At that stage things got really tense and Sri Lanka where only one loose shot away from exposing their tail, to having to try to get them over the line.
Would Malinga, Herath, Mendis and Murali have had the shots and composure to get the 30 odds runs needed? Who knows in that pressure situation and luckily for Sri Lanka they didn’t need to find out.
I did find it a touch premature after the New Zealand innings when the commentators said that Murali was leaving the pitch for the final time in Columbo to a standing ovation – before they had even batted. I thought it would be slightly ironic if he then had to come out to bat as his team had made a mess of the run chase.
I thought the Kiwi’s fought hard again, like they did against South Africa, but this time it wasn’t enough. I also got the feeling that if this hadn’t of been a world cup semi-final, that Sri Lanka would have won the game a lot more comfortably than they did.
The Kiwis formula of playing safe with the bat and posting a work-man-like total failed here, as it did for England and also for Australia against India.
The non sub-continent teams seemed to adopt an approach that if the openers went cheeply, they will play safe and put a low total on the board (rather than end up 170 all out) and hope to defend it with tight bowling and good fielding, in the hope that a build up of pressure might produce a South Africa, sorry, I mean a disasterous batting collapse.
England failed miserably, as they couldn’t bowl tight or field, Australia ran into an in-form Yuvraj (despite most of the rest of his team trying to throw it away) and it wasn’t enough for the Kiwis here – although it very nearly was.