Sri Lanka has beaten New Zealand to take a place in the ICC World Cup final. But the Black Caps put up a creditable, if futile fight.
Once again, the New Zealanders simply did not make enough runs batting first, after a late-innings collapse. 217 was never going to be enough against a strong Sri Lankan batting lineup. So it seemd when Sri Lanka was 160 for one. But the Black Caps fought back, dismissing Dilshan, Jayawardena, Sangakarra and Silva in quick succession leaving Sri Lanka at 185 for five. Try as they might, they couldn't get the one more breakthrough that would have exposed the Sri Lankan tail.
We expected little of the Black Caps at this World Cup, but in the end they should take some pride from their achievements, especially the win against South Africa in the quarter-final. Simon Doull sums it up well; "On the day they just weren't good enough". They were beaten by a better side today, but not before they had caused a few heart flutters to the Sri Lankan players and their adoring fans. Sri Lanka is a deserving finalist.
This match also marks the end of Daniel Vettori's tenure as captain of New Zealand. We'll cover that off at a later date. It may also mean the end of the road for players like Scott Styris and Jacob Oram; time will tell. For now though, they can leave the World Cup beaten but unbowed, and having gone down fighting. As we said yesterday, that's all that we could ask for.