Bangladesh's erratic form continued in their last two games of the group stages. They crushed Netherlands to set up a grand finale with the mighty South Africa. However, they failed spectacularly, managing to score a humiliating 78 runs all out after South Africa had set a target of 284 runs.
Bangladesh bowled the Dutch out for only 160 in 46.2 overs in Chittagong, with Abdur Razzak taking 3-29 and Ryan ten Doeschate top scoring with 53 not out. The Tigers reached their target in 41.2 overs, Imrul Kayes hitting 73 not out - although their main talisman Tamim Iqbal was bowled out for zero. This gave Bangladesh an emphatic six-wicket victory and complicated Group 'B' even more, with no team yet through to the quarter-finals. Going into the last game, every team - except the Dutch - had an opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages. The Dutch team subsequently lost to Ireland and completed a miserable World Cup for them having lost all six matches in the group stages.
Bangladesh’s final game against South Africa in Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, was reminiscent of their disastrous game against West Indies few matches earlier. England’s dramatic win against the West Indies two days earlier transformed this match into a must-win game for Bangladesh.
South Africa won the toss and opted to bat. Jacques Kallis (69), Du Plessis (52) and Amla (51) all scored over 50 runs to set a respectable target of 284 runs. Bangladesh’s best bowler was Rubel Hossain with 3-56.
However, a woeful batting display saw Bangladesh crumble to a humiliating 78 for all out after only 28 overs - their lowest score against South Africa. Only captain Shakib Al Hasan (30) managed to score double figures whilst all the others failed to score more than 10 runs each. South African spinner Robin Peterson did the damage by getting a remarkable 4-12. He was closely followed by compatriot Tsotsobe who got 3-14.
The 206-run defeat proved to be fatalistic for Bangladesh.
The expectations were high among our people because we had played so well over the past 12 months, but we let them down.
We have not played good cricket at the World Cup and I feel very sorry for our fans. They deserved much more than we gave them.
There is no other reason for our failure than bad batting. We should probably have given away 20 runs less, but the match was over once we lost four wickets quickly. You can't find excuses once you are bowled out for 78.
This was a pressure match for us. We knew we had to win. The team just could not take the pressure.
At the end of the group matches Bangladesh was levelled with West Indies with 6 points. However, the heavy and miserable defeat by West Indies and South Africa resulted in Bangladesh missing out on the quarter-finals due to inferior run-rate.
This was great blow for the nation where the cricket provided a welcome distraction to their everyday grind for living. Nevertheless, it was a gallant effort from a young Bangladesh cricket team with large progress being made both on and off the pitch.
|Group 'A'||Won||Lost||Run rate||Points|
|Group 'B'||Won||Lost||Run rate||Points|
|Match & score||Result|
|Kenya 69 (23.5 overs) v New Zealand 72/0 (8 overs)||New Zealand won by 10 wickets|
|Sri Lanka 332/7 (50 overs) v Canada 122 (36.5 overs)||Sri Lanka won by 210 runs|
|Australia 262/6 (50 overs) v Zimbabwe 171 (46.2 overs)||Australia won by 91 runs|
|Pakistan 317/7 (50 overs) v Kenya 112 (33.1 overs)||Pakistan won by 205 runs|
|New Zealand 206 (45.1 overs) v Australia 207/3 (34 overs)||Australia won by 7 wickets|
|Pakistan 277/7 (50 overs) v Sri Lanka 266/9 (50 overs)||Pakistan won by 11 runs|
|Zimbabwe 298/9 (50 overs) v Canada 123 (42.1 overs)||Zimbabwe won by 175 runs|
|Kenya 142 (43.4 overs) v Sri Lanka 146/1 (18.4 overs)||Sri Lanka won by 9 wickets|
|Pakistan 184 (43 overs) v Canada 138 (42.5 overs)||Pakistan won by 46 runs|
|Zimbabwe 162 (46.2 overs) v New Zealand 166/0 (33.3 overs)||New Zealand won by 10 wickets|
|Sri Lanka 146/3 (32.5 overs) v Australia||Match abandoned due to heavy rain|
|Kenya 198 (50 overs) v Canada 199/5 (45.3 overs)||Canada won by 5 wickets|
|New Zealand 302/7 (50 overs) v Pakistan 192 (41.4 overs)||New Zealand won by 110 runs|
|Sri Lanka 327/6 (50 overs) v Zimbabwe 188 (39 overs)||Sri Lanka won by 139 runs|
|New Zealand 358/6 (50 overs) v Canada 261/9 (50 overs)||New Zealand won by 97 runs|
|Australia 324/6 (50 overs) v Kenya 264/6 (50 overs)||Australia won by 60 runs|
|Zimbabwe 151/7 (39.4/39.4 overs) v Pakistan 164/3 (34.1/38 overs)||Pakistan won by 7 wickets|
|Canada 211 (45.4 overs) v Australia 212/3 (34.5 overs)||Australia won by 7 wickets|
|Sri Lanka 265/9 (50 overs) v New Zealand 153 (35 overs)||Sri Lanka won by 112 runs|
|Australia 176 (46.4 overs) v Pakistan 178/6 (41 overs)||Pakistan won by 4 wickets|
|Zimbabwe 308/6 (50 overs) v Kenya 147 (36 overs)||Zimbabwe won by 161 runs|
|Match & score||Result|
|India 370/4 (50 overs) v Bangladesh 283/9 (50 overs)||India won by 87 runs|
|Netherlands 292/6 (50 overs) v England 296/4 (48.4 overs)||England won by 6 wickets|
|West Indies 222 (47.3 overs) v South Africa 223/3 (42.5 overs)||South Africa won by 7 wickets|
|Bangladesh 205 (49.2 overs) v Ireland 178 (45 overs)||Bangladesh won by 27 runs|
|India 338 (49.5 overs) v England 338/8 (50 overs)||Match tied|
|West Indies 330/8 (50 overs) v Netherlands 115 (31.3 overs)||West Indies won by 215 runs|
|England 327/8 (50 overs) v Ireland 329/7 (49.1 overs)||Ireland won by 3 wickets|
|South Africa 351/5 (50 overs) v Netherlands 120 (34.5 overs)||South Africa won by 231 runs|
|Bangladesh 58 (18.5 overs) v West Indies 59/1 (12.2 overs)||West Indies won by 9 wickets|
|England 171 (45.4 overs) v South Africa 165 (47.4 overs)||England won by 6 runs|
|Ireland 207 (47.5 overs) v India 210/5 (46.0 overs)||India won by 5 wickets|
|Netherlands 189 (46.4 overs) v India 191/5 (36.3 overs)||India won by 5 wickets|
|West Indies 275 (50 overs) v Ireland 231 (49 overs)||West Indies won by 44 runs|
|England 225 (49.4 overs) v Bangladesh 227/8 (49 overs)||Bangladesh won by 2 wickets|
|India 296 (48.4 overs) v South Africa 300/7 (49.4 overs)||South Africa won by 3 wickets|
|Netherlands 160 (46.2 overs) v Bangladesh 166/4 (40.2 overs)||Bangladesh won by 6 wickets|
|South Africa 272/7 (50 overs) v Ireland 141 (33.2 overs)||South Africa won by 131 runs|
|England 243 (48.4 overs) v West Indies 225 (44.4 overs)||England won by 18 runs|
|Netherlands 306 (50 overs) v Ireland 307/4 (47.4 overs)||Ireland won by 6 wickets|
|South Africa 284/8 (50 overs) v Bangladesh 78 (28 overs)||South Africa won by 206 runs|
|India 268 (49.1 overs) v West Indies 188 (43 overs)||India won by 80 runs|
Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka thrashed West Indies and England respectively to sail into the semi-finals with ease.
For Pakistan Shahid Afridi continued his spectacular form by getting 4-30 and restricting West Indies to 112 for all out. A strong opening partnership between Kamran Akmal (47) and Mohammad Hafeez (61) ensured Pakistan a quick passage to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka thrashed England with opening batsmen pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan (108) and Upul Tharanga (102) both scoring over a century under 40 overs after they had limited England to 229 runs.
Surprise of the round came when New Zealand knocked out South Africa. The Black Caps batted first and scored 221 runs with majority of these being scored by Jesse Ryder (83). This seemed a manageable target for the Proteas. However, fantastic bowling from Jacob Oram (4-39) and Nathan McCullum (3-24) restricted the South Africans to 172 all out.
Arguably the biggest game of the quarter-finals was when India hosted reigning world champions Australia. The Aussies batted first with Ricky Pointing (104) – his first century for 13 months - and Brad Haddin (53) setting the Indians a target of 260 runs to beat. Indian batsmen raised to the challenge with Yuvraj Singh (57), Sachin Tendulakar (53) and Gautam Gambhir (50 not out) all scoring half a century.
India's victory meant that 3 out of the 4 semi-finalist were sub-continent nations. A fascinating dual with old rivals Pakistan was their reward for knocking out Australia. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka had the more trickier tie after being drawn with the underdog New Zealand.
In the first semi-final New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat first. They were all out for 217 with only Scott Styris (57) batting well to give the Kiwis some hope. Spinner Ajantha Mendis (3-35) and ever reliable Malinga (3-55) were at their scintillating best. But the biggest cheer was reserved for legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who will be bowing out of international cricket after the World Cup. ‘Murali’, as he is popularly known, marked his farewell appearance on Sri Lankan soil with the wicket of leading scorer Scott Styris from the final ball of his spell. It was his 534th one-day wicket.
When it was their turn to bat, Sri Lanka started well with Dilshan continuing from where he left off in the quarter-finals. He scored 73 runs and overtook England’s Jonathan Trott as the competition’s leading run-scorer. Dilshan found great support in his captain Kumar Sangakkara who scored a respectable 54. However, silent tension gripped the stadium as wickets fell quickly and the run-rate slowed down. Finally, with just over 2 overs remaining, Sri Lanka managed to defuse the tension by hitting the winning run – and condemning New Zealand to their sixth World Cup semi-final defeat.
The home crowd went wild as Sri Lanka reached its second consecutive final (having come runner-up to Australia in the last world cup). Fans began dreaming of replicating their historic win in 1996 when they won their first and only World Cup.
And although they will be leaving the comfort of home soil, with legendary bowlers Malinga and Murali on their side and Dilshan and Sangakkara hitting form at the right time, Sri Lanka went into the showpiece in confident mood.
The pressure was building at the end, we lost three quick wickets when we had been cruising at one stage, but everyone was pumped to give Murali a great send-off and they did a great job.
Murali is an icon of Sri Lanka, a champion on the field and off the field. As a human being no-one matches him and he's the ultimate team man, you can't ask for anything more.
I wish we could take the crowd with us but we know they'll be supporting us and thinking of us. But we haven't won anything yet, we need to work hard to be fresh and hungry for the final.
We don't care who we're playing, just as long as we're there. We'll give it everything and hopefully that will be enough.
In the much anticipated other semi-final between India and Pakistan, excitement reached fever pitch as the two arch rivals locked horn once again. Pakistan has never beaten India at a World Cup or a World Twenty20 so omen were good for the home side. However, this was no ordinary match – after all, it was India v Pakistan.
With tickets reportedly exchanging hands for many thousands of rupees, an estimated 28,000 packed into the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium and every possible vantage point outside the ground taken, a match of such magnitude between the fierce rivals deserved to be a classic encounter.
India won the toss and opted to bat first. They compiled a modest 260-9 with legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar hitting 85 from 115 balls. In fitting with the occasion, Tendulkar survived 4 drop catches and two DRS (Decision Review System) reviews to come 15 run short of an unprecedented 100th hundred. Virender Sehwag, the man who destroyed Bangladesh in the opening match, was also in blistering form. He hit 9 fours to reach 38 runs before becoming the first of Wahab Riaz’s victim. Left-arm seamer Riaz bowled a career-best 5-46 and almost single-handedly bowled out India’s top order batsmen including the dangerous Yuvraj Singh (out for a duck with the first bowl), Virat Kohli (9) and Indian captain Dhoni (25).
For their part, Pakistani batsmen batted courageously with Misbah-ul-Haq (56) and Mohammad Hafeez (43) threatening to reach India’s target. However, their defiance came to an end as they were all bowled out for 231 in the final over – 29 runs short of India’s scoreline. For India, all five bowlers took two wicket each with Ashish Nehra (2-33) best of the bunch.
Now attention turns to an enticing final in Mumbai where the fairytale finale was set for one of the co-host. The match would feature Tendulkar on his home ground seeking to record that 100th hundred against Sri Lanka's own talisman, Muttiah Muralitharan.
One victory away from being world No.1 in ODIs, in addition to Tests. One victory away from giving the ultimate thank you gift to the greatest cricketer since Don Bradman, and a fitting farewell to a coach who has contributed so much to their rise. And one victory away from giving millions of young Indians born after 1983 - including several members of the present team - the joy of knowing what it actually feels like to have your squad lift the Cup that counts before your jubilant eyes. Kumar Sangakkara - Sanga to millions of fans - is waiting with his formidable Lankans. But so is the opportunity of a lifetime for Dhoni's Daredevils.
India went into the semi-final against Pakistan as odds-on favourites, and for once the bookies had it right. The quality of cricket didn't really live up to the occasion but the ebb and flow of emotions - from exuberance to unease to disappointment to hope to joy to sheer mad exultation - more than compensated. Wednesday's win extends India's record against Pakistan at the World Cup to 5-0. Some day, the law of averages will catch up, but not with history beckoning so alluringly.