Sri Lanka in final, Cup braced for Indo-Pak clash

NEW DELHI, March 29, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka reached their second successive World Cup final on Tuesday, clearing the tournament decks for India and Pakistan’s heavyweight collision. Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions and runners-up to Australia in 2007, overcame a worrying wobble to beat New Zealand by five wickets in Colombo and will tackle either India or Pakistan in Saturday’s final in Mumbai.

Having dismissed the Black Caps for just 217, Sri Lanka reached 220-5 with 13 balls to spare.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (73) and skipper Kumar Sangakkara (54) put on 120 for the second wicket before Sri Lanka lost three quick wickets to slump from 160-1 to 169-4.

But a limping Angelo Mathews (14) and Thilan Samaraweera (23) eventually saw their team home.

Victory also prolonged Muttiah Muralitharan’s international career by one more game after the veteran off-spinner, who’ll retire after the tournament, had marked his last appearance in Sri Lanka with two wickets.

In keeping with his dramatic career, the 38-year-old record-setting bowler took a wicket off the last ball of his final over when he had top scorer Scott Styris (57) lbw to send the 38,000-crowd at the R.
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