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Who would have predicted that: Russel Arnold, Suresh Perera shepherd Sri Lanka in tricky chase at 2001 Coca-Cola Cup

Sri Lankan batsman Suresh Perera bats against New Zealand as wicket keeper Adam Parore looks on during Coca cola cup one day international series matc
Sri Lankan batsman Suresh Perera bats against New Zealand as wicket keeper Adam Parore looks on during Coca cola cup one day international series match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand July 25, 2001

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.

 In the Coca-Cola Cup hosted by Sri Lanka in 2001, with India and New Zealand as the other participating sides, the matches had been low-scoring, so much so that when New Zealand scored 236/8 in the first innings of the 4th match, it was the highest total in the tournament till then.


Match Summary


New Zealand 236/8(50 overs) - Nathan Astle 54 (67), Craig McMillan 38 (53); Kumar Dharmasena 3/52(10), Russel Arnold 2/22(6)

Sri Lanka 240/5(48.3 overs) - Russel Arnold* 91 (116), Marvan Atapattu 66 (91); Kyle Mills 2/32(8), Daryl Tuffey 1/19(6)

Result - Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets (with 9 balls remaining)


Batting first, New Zealand made good use of the fielding restrictions with a 70-run partnership between openers Mathew Sinclair and Nathan Astle. They went along at a run rate of almost six in the powerplay and the partnership was broken with the dismissal of Sinclair on the first ball of the 14th over.

Nathan Astle went on to score a half-century, well assisted by 30s from Craig McMillan, Lou Vincent and Adam Parore in the middle order. Aided by 27 extras, New Zealand ended with 236/8.

Kumar Dharmasena, the off-spinner turned umpire, was the highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka. With no team having won while chasing in the tournament till then, it was an uphill task for Sri Lanka.

Fall of wickets: 1-70 (Mathew Sinclair, 13.1 ov), 2-98 (Jacob Oram, 19.1 ov), 3-120 (Nathan Astle, 24.1 ov), 4-164 (Craig McMillan, 36.6 ov), 5-184 (Lou Vincent, 43.1 ov), 6-210 (Chris Harris, 46.4 ov), 7-217 (Daniel Vettori, 47.6 ov), 8-217 (Kyle Mills, 48.2 ov)



The perception was further strengthened when the home side was left reeling at 27/4 by the 9th over. Both their openers, Sanath Jayasuriya and Avishka Gunawardene departed for 5 each while Romesh Kaluwitharana was dismissed without opening his account. Mahela Jayawardene met the same fate.

It is then that the middle order of Sri Lanka which had failed to find form till then came to life. Marvan Atapattu and Russel Arnold, who did not have many runs under their belt, put on a 100+ partnership.

Once Atapattu was dismissed, all-rounder Suresh Perera joined Arnold at the crease and with another 100 + partnership, they saw the team home. Arnold was unbeaten on 91 off 116 deliveries with 7 fours and was rightfully awarded the Man of the Match.

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Sanath Jayasuriya, 1.3 ov), 2-5 (Romesh Kaluwitharana, 1.6 ov), 3-27 (Avishka Gunawardene, 8.4 ov), 4-27 (Mahela Jayawardene, 8.6 ov), 5-137 (Marvan Atapattu, 33.5 ov)



 Sri Lanka - Sanath Jayasuriya (c), Avishka Gunawardene, Romesh Kaluwitharana (wk), Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, Suresh Perera, Chaminda Vaas, Kumar Dharmasena, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando 

New Zealand - Mathew Sinclair, Nathan Astle, Jacob Oram, Craig McMillan (c), Lou Vincent, Chris Harris, Adam Parore (wk), Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Grant Bradburn, Daryl Tuffey


Match Details


Match: SL vs NZ, 4th Match, Coca-Cola Cup (Sri Lanka) 2001

Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 

Toss: New Zealand won the toss and opt to bat 

Venue: R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo 

Umpires: Asoka De Silva, Lalith Jayasundara 

Third Umpire: Peter Manuel 

Match Referee: Cammie Smith


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