Vettori eyes semis spot for resurgent Kiwis

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has a Champions Trophy semi-finals place in his sights after victory over Sri Lanka Sunday in a Wanderers run-feast.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 28 Sep 2009, 8:53 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:49 AM

Put in to bat, the Black Caps overcame a mid-innings crash to post 315-7 off 50 overs, the second highest total of the tournament after Sri Lanka scored four runs more in defeating South Africa on the opening day.

A defiant 77 from Mahela Jayawardene gave Sri Lanka hope of an unlikely win, but they fell 38 runs short after being all out for 277 with 20 balls left of a Group B match staged in stifling heat.

“Our fate is in our hands and we know the Wanderers wicket where the game against England will be played,” said Vettori ahead of the Tuesday day-night clash that will determine the final mini-league standings.

A win for the Kiwis and they are guaranteed a place in the semi-finals of the second most important one-day national team competition after the quadrennial World Cup.

Depressed after a five-wicket loss to South Africa in their opening match at SuperSport Park in Centurion continued a run of poor batting performances, Vettori hopes his team have turned the corner.

“We have been inconsistent with the bat, especially in Sri Lanka recently, and without good partnerships a team cannnot hope to win a tournament like the Champions Trophy.”

Vettori could also do with a change of luck as Jesse Ryder, 74-run hero of the win over Sri Lanka, has joined bowler Jacob Oram in quitting the tournament through injury.

Ryder, who scored 10 fours and one six with the aid of a runner in his 58-ball stand at the crease, struggled with a hamstring injury and was ruled out.

He also had to attend a disciplinary hearing for breaking a chair with his bat as he returned to the pavilion after being caught by Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara.

Sangakkara was furious with the fielding of his team who were suffering their second consecutive loss after surprising South Africa in the opening match of the two-week tournament.

“The standard of our fielding has to improve if we are going to challenge for titles like the Champions Trophy. For many months now we have been really shoddy in this area.

“We were in the hunt for a long time against New Zealand but, unfortunately, the one big innings that could have swung the match our way never came and now we are relying on England defeating New Zealand to survive.

“While I take heart from some great individual performances during our three matches, there is no doubt that as a team we let ourselves down,” admitted Sangakkara.

Should surprise packets England complete a clean sweep by defeating New Zealand, Sri Lanka will squeeze through on net run rate as South Africa have been eliminated.

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