It was one of the days which Sri Lankan cricket lovers will never forget as their team made it to the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with dominating performance. Lankan giants dominated Englishmen completely on the field and achieved easy victory which gave them much required momentum needed for semi-finals and finals. Sri Lanka will play New Zealand in semi-finals and Kiwis failed to win the match in Sri Lanka since 2003, so semis will again become easy transit for the finals as far as Lankans are concerned.
Sri Lanka did make few mistake in the field where they dropped as many as four catches of Eoin Morgan. This was the only flaw in their performance in that game against England. Dropped catches helped England reaching partly competitive total of 229 and cricket lovers thought that this total will be enough looking at the condition of the pitch in the second innings. Moreover, other night collapse of South African batting against New Zealand confirmed that chase will not going to be easy for the Lankans. But Dilshan and Tharanga had other ideas and both these openers stamped their authority on the match by playing freely and both scored centuries which helped Lanka winning this match by 10 wickets. This clearly showed that how comfortable Sri Lanka is in their home conditions. South Africa lost the match by 49 runs while chasing New Zealand score of 221 shows the difference between the two teams and their adaptability to the pitches and conditions.
As far as England is concerned, they made it to the quarter-finals after topsy-turvy performance in the league round and everybody expected that if England is in quarter-finals after up-down in the league stage then this time something is waiting for them but quarter-finals turned out to be a sorry state of affairs for the England. They came into the World Cup with lot of cricket behind them, so the fatigue factor also played its role in their performance. The looked tired and didn't put fight-back. They got the golden chances from Lankans yet they couldn't capitalise on those chances and got out for the par total. Once Dilshan and Tharanga started attacking, English bowlers looked completely out of sorts and it looked like they lost all the hopes of winning the game. They were monotonous on the field and didn't look energetic enough to convert even the half-chances. English batting also failed to dominate, they started defensively against the part-time spinner like Dilshan. There was no intent in their batting in the beginning and they also lost wickets quite quickly and also to the part-timer. Trott played well for his 80 odd but he consumed too many balls. Only Morgan showed some intent but he was also lucky because he was dropped four times by the Lankans. Such poor performance was not expected from the team which defeated Australia just two months back. I think England have to do lot of soul searching about their performance in this World Cup.
As far as Lankan bowling is concern, Muralitharan once again showed his class. He was struggling with hamstring injury, yet he bowled like a champion, no wonder why he is so precious to the Sri Lankan cricket. Malinga, Mendis, Mathews and Herath bowled brilliantly and given red alert to the Kiwis.