Colombo: Sri Lanka survived a nervous last hour before making it to the final of the cricket World Cup beating New Zealand by five wickets in the second semi-final, at Colombo on Tuesday.


Chasing a modest target of 218, the home team made a rough weather of an easy chase before reaching the target in 47.5 overs as they made it to their third World Cup final.

However at one stage, it looked that Lankans will do a repeat act of their stupendous semi-final show versus England.

The winners were cruising at one stage with scoreboard reading 160 for one courtesy half centuries by Tillakaratne Dilshan and skipper Kumar Sangakkara. But New Zealand bounced back strongly dismissing three batsmen for nine runs as suddenly a match which looked thoroughly one-sided had some excitement still left.

But suddenly Daniel Vettori's men were 30 runs short of trying to make a match of it. Finally, it was Samaraweera (23, 38 balls, 2x4) and Angelo Mathews (14, 18 balls, 1x4, 1x6) batting with a runner put an end to any improbable hopes that Black Caps harboured.

Mathews infact hit a big six off Southee over long on and followed it up with another one bounce four to calm the nerves as the target was reduced three. It was Samaraweera whose streaky four off McKay started victory celebrations in the Premadasa stands.

Earlier, neither Dilshan (73, 93 balls, 10x4, 1x6) nor Sangakkara (54, 79 balls, 7x4, 1x6) were flashy during their 120-run second wicket stand that lasted 25.2 overs after Upul Tharanga (30, 31 balls, 4x4, 1x6) was brilliantly caught by Jesse Ryder at point.

The duo ran well between the wickets but was equally adept in punishing anything that was pitched on their zone. They used their feet well against the spinners. As they were cruising along the 100 runs for the second wicket came in 127 balls. However at 160 for one, suddenly Dilshan's tired-looking flash gave Ryder a simple catch at point.

Skipper Vettori playing his last ODI then got one to pitch in line and trapped Mahela Jayawardene (1) leg-before. Sangakkara, who had looked solid all this while suddenly had left-arm paceman Andy McKay dig one short at him. The ball climbed awkwardly onto the Lankan captain whose upper cut was easily caught at third man by Scott Styris.

From 160 for one, Lankans slumped to 169 for four losing three wickets for nine runs. Suddenly, the two new batsmen Samaraweera and Chamara Silva (13, 25 balls, 2x4) found it difficult to get going.

The Black Caps also found a spring in their strides as the fielders started cutting down on the singles and bowlers stuck to a disciplined line.