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Who would have predicted that: Dilhara Fernando, Ravi Bopara and Paul Nixon shine in 2007 World Cup nail-biter

England's Ravi Bopara (C) celebrates with Paul Nixon and Paul Collingwood (R)

In our feature series - Who would have predicted that? – we are looking back at matches where there were big upsets or extraordinary individual performances that turned matches on their head.


With two of the biggest crowd-pullers, India and Pakistan, having been eliminated from the 2007 World Cup in the first round itself, there was dire need for a nail-biter to liven up the spirits. The excitement was provided by a hard-fought clash between Sri Lanka and England, which was decided on the last ball of the match.


Match Summary


Sri Lanka 235 (50 overs) - Upul Tharanga 62 (103), Mahela Jayawardene 56 (61); Sajid Mahmood 4/50 (9), Andrew Flintoff 3/35 (10)


England 233/8 (50 overs) - Kevin Pietersen 58 (80), Ravi Bopara 52 (53); Dilhara Fernando 3/41 (9), Lasith Malinga 2/50 (10)


Result - Sri Lanka won by 2 runs


In the 33rd match of the 2007 World Cup at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya gave Sri Lanka a decent start. Tharanga scored a sensible half-century but the Lankan middle order collapsed. From 160/2, the team was bowled out for 235.

Sajid Mahmood and Andrew Flintoff were the key bowlers for England and shared 7 wickets between them.


Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Sanath Jayasuriya, 7.6 ov), 2-69 (Kumar Sangakkara, 18.1 ov), 3-160 (Upul Tharanga, 34.5 ov), 4-175 (Mahela Jayawardene, 38.4 ov), 5-193 (Tillakaratne Dilshan, 42.1 ov), 6-215 (Chamara Silva, 46.1 ov), 7-219 (Chaminda Vaas, 46.6 ov), 8-226 (Lasith Malinga, 49.1 ov), 9-231 (Russel Arnold, 49.4 ov), 10-235 (Dilhara Fernando, 49.6 ov)


Despite 47 from Ian Bell and 58 from Kevin Pietersen, England's middle-order also met the same fate as that of Sri Lanka. The team was reeling at 133 for 6 and a win seemed almost impossible.

This is when Ravi Bopara and Paul Nixon, batting at number 7 and 8 respectively, showed their batting chops. 32 runs were required from the last 3 overs with both Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga left with one over each.

Paul Nixon struck a six and a four off Muralitharan to bring down the equation to 19 required off 12 balls. Malinga bowled an on-point penultimate over in which he gave away just 7 runs and dismissed Nixon as well. Bopara paddled Fernando for a boundary on the second ball of the last over but was bowled on the last ball as Sri Lanka won the thriller by two runs.


Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Michael Vaughan, 2.2 ov), 2-11 (Ed Joyce, 5.2 ov), 3-101 (Ian Bell, 25.2 ov), 4-126 (Kevin Pietersen, 30.5 ov), 5-133 (Andrew Flintoff, 33.1 ov), 6-133 (Paul Collingwood, 33.3 ov), 7-220 (Paul Nixon, 48.5 ov), 8-233 (Ravi Bopara, 49.6 ov)




England - Ed Joyce, Michael Vaughan (c), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ravi Bopara, Paul Nixon (wk), Sajid Mahmood, James Anderson, Monty Panesar 

Sri Lanka - Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene (c), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando


Match Details


Match: ENG v SL, 33rd Match, Super Eights, ICC World Cup, 2007 

Date: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 

Toss: England won the toss and decided to bowl 

Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua 

Umpires: Asad Rauf, Billy Bowden 

Third Umpire: Rudi Koertzen 

Match Referee: Jeff Crowe 


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