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Vettori-led Kiwis clinch a place in final

Daniel Vettori snared a career-best four for 14 to spur New Zealand to a nine-run victory over Sri Lanka and into the final.

india Updated: May 19, 2003 18:18 IST

Left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori snared a career-best four for 14 Monday to spur New Zealand to a nine-run victory over Sri Lanka and into the final of the limited-overs tri-series here.

New Zealand posted a modest 156 for eight and then bowled host Sri Lanka out for 147 with five balls to spare.

The win boosted New Zealand (2-1) to 12 points with a match in hand against Pakistan (1-2), on seven points.

Sri Lanka, which has won all limited-overs competitions its hosted since July 1998, has 11 points with two wins and two losses. It could miss the final if Pakistan beats New Zealand in the last preliminary match.

Vettori tore through Sri Lanka's middle order after Romesh Kaluwitharana (18) was bowled by paceman Andre Adams and Sanath Jayasuriya (9) was caught behind by Brendon McCullum off Daryl Tuffey.

Conceding just three runs from his initial five overs, Vettori had Sri Lanka skipper Marvan Atapattu (13) caught at mid-off, bowled Kumar Sangakkara (11) and had Tillakaratne Dilshan (7) caught by Stephen Fleming at slip.

A defiant 102-ball 38 from Mahela Jayawardene revived Sri Lanka's challenge before he fell in the final over trying to reverse-sweep Scott Styris (2-30) only to loft the ball to Chris Harris at backward point.

After losing the toss and being sent into bat, New Zealand slumped to 88 for six before young wicketkeeper McCullum led a rearguard rally with a defiant, unbeaten 63-ball 47.

McCullum belted three towering sixes — two against left-arm spinner Jayasuriya and one off legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi — during his 50-run seventh-wicket partnership with Kyle Mills (17) that restored New Zealand's hopes.

Led by ace offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan (2-41) and left-arm Jayasuriya (2-35), Sri Lanka's accurate spinners capitalized on New Zealand's rusty batting after a six-day break.

New Zealand lost opener Chris Nevin (8) in the sixth over, edging a rising delivery from pace bowler Prabath Nissanka to Sangakkara at second slip.

Fleming, who Tuesday became only the second New Zealander after Harris to play in 200 one-dayers, and Lou Vincent went into a defensive shell that reduced the scoring to a trickle. Vincent (12) was run out by Lokuarachchi's throw from short cover.

Despite hooking left-arm pacer Chaminda Vaas for a six over square-leg early on, Fleming could only compile 16 runs from 56 balls before misjudging the spin in a Muralitharan delivery that kept low and trapped him lbw.

Chris Cairns (9) top-edged a sweep shot against Jayasuriya and Dilshan pick up a diving catch at short fine-leg. He became Jayasuriya's 250th victim in 303 one-dayers.

Harris was run out as he failed to regain the crease after a terrible mix up with Styris, who changed his mind on the single after seeing Atapattu field the ball at short mid-on.

Styris struck two boundaries in his 53-ball 29, but became Muralitharan's second victim as wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana took a neat leg-side catch.

Scorecard

First Published: May 19, 2003 09:58 IST