Wednesday 18 April 2007 

Sri Lanka Romp To Victory Over Ireland

Sri Lanka romped to an eight-wicket victory over Ireland in their final World Cup Super Eights match on Wednesday after dismissing their opponents for the lowest score of the tournament.

Ireland made only 77 from their 27.4 overs, one fewer than Bermuda managed against the same opponents in the group stages, after reaching 28 without loss.

Paceman Farveez Maharoof, who took three wickets in four balls in his opening over, and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who captured two from his first four deliveries, finished with four for 25 and four for 19 respectively.

Maharoof started the rout for the 1996 champions, who have already qualified for the semi-finals, when he came on in the eighth over.

After conceding two fours from his first two balls to opener Jeremy Bray he switched to bowling around the wicket and the left-hander was caught for 20 at short-cover by Russel Arnold.

Andre Botha defended the next ball but then edged a straight-forward catch to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.

Eoin Morgan followed next ball to an acrobatic effort from Sangakkara, who changed direction to fling himself to his left and take the ball one-handed.

Maharoof missed an opportunity to take a fourth wicket with the first ball of his fifth over when he dropped a caught-and-bowled chance off Niall O'Brien on two.

In his next over opener William Porterfield, who had scored 17 from 51 deliveries, lofted a simple catch to Sanath Jayasuriya at mid-on.

BRILLIANT FIELDING

Muralitharan, coming on to bowl in the 19th over, dismissed O'Brien caught behind for four then bowled Kenny Carroll, playing his first game of the tournament, for a second-ball duck.

Maharoof ran out Ireland captain Trent Johnston (0) with a brilliant piece of fielding in the next over. Johnston moved out of his crease as he pushed the ball back to the bowler who threw down the stumps at the batsman's end with a one-handed pickup and throw.

Kevin O'Brien (2) fell to a second catch by Jayasuriya from the first ball of Muralitharan's next over before Dave Langford-Smith brought up the 50 with a bold clump over mid-on for four.

Langford-Smith was given a life in Muralitharan's next over when Maharoof dropped a catch running in from square-leg. The batsmen crossed for one and Kyle McCallan was lbw next ball for a duck padding up.

A hooked six by Langford-Smith off Maharoof followed and Boyd Rankin drove Muralitharan for a four in a breezy last-wicket partnership before Chaminda Vaas returned to dismiss Langford-Smith lbw for 18 with a low full-toss.

Sri Lanka lost Upul Tharanga for a duck and Sangakkara caught for 10 but Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was in no mood to delay the finish.

He scored an unbeaten 39 from 27 balls with six fours and a six to seal victory after 10 overs and little more than three hours' play.

© Reuters 2007

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