Colombo, March 29 (IANS) Scott Styris made a fighting 57, but New Zealand lost the plot at the death and were rolled over for 217 by Sri Lanka in the first 2011 World Cup semifinal at the R.Premadasa Stadium here Tuesday.
Styris, who held the innings together, struck five fours in his 77-ball knock. Muttiah Muralitharan (2-42) dismissed Styris lbw with his last ball on his home turf amid a huge roar from the crowd. The spin king, who is playing his swansong international tournament, acknowledged the applause by raising his cap.
The New Zealand innings revolved around Styris, who put up 77 runs with Ross Taylor in a painstaking partnership.
After the fall of Styris, New Zealand folded up in 48.5 overs, losing their last five wickets for just 13 runs.
The Black Caps, though, looked poised for a bigger total. But wickets tumbled at regular intervals. Lasith Malinga (3-55) took three wickets and Ajantha Mendis (3-35), who mopped up the tail, also got three.
Brendon McCullum (13) and Martin Guptill (39) took calculated risks in their partnership of 32 after New Zealand decided to bat after winning the crucial toss.
Guptill beautifully flicked Malinga for a four and McCullum rocked back to pull the short ball from left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for a four. He also found the sweet spot of the bat to hit Herath for a six over mid-wicket. While attempting another sweep off Herath, who was getting a good turn with the new ball, McCullum misread the quickish delivery and had his stumps rattled.
Guptill and Jesse Ryder (19) added 37 runs before the left-hander became Muraliatharan’s first victim after the drinks interval, caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara.
Guptill, who played 65 balls and struck three fours, was soon dismissed by a scorching yorker from Malinga that crashed onto the base of the stump.
Bouyed by the wicket, a fired up Malinga regularly hit the yorker length.
Runs slowed down as New Zealand were not prepared to take risks off Muralitharan, who had taken four wickets in their last league match in Mumbai.
Styris and Taylor worked hard for runs, looking to negotiate the middle overs. Boundaries dried down as Sri Lanka operated with the spinners. The two added 77 runs for the fourth wicket, but it came at a very slow pace and took 17.4 overs.
The explosive Taylor, who struggled to force the pace on the slow surface, was out when he pulled a short delivery straight to Upul Tharanga at deep mid-wicket off Mendis.
Styris held one end up while Kane Williamson (22) played some attacking shots to give some impetus to the New Zealand innings. New Zealand took the batting Powerplay in the 42nd over and it produced 41 runs for the fall of two wickets.
Williamson first dispatched Malinga for a four and then, showing some brilliant use of his feet, came down to hoist Muralitharan for a six. A ball later he cut the off-spinner for another four.
Malinga came back to trap him lbw in the next over.
Nathan McCullum (9) also came down to loft Muralitharan for a six.
After Syris’ dismissal, the last three wickets could not do much, with Mendis taking the last two wickets to bring an early end to the New Zealand innings.