ENGLAND will face Sri Lanka in Colombo in next weekend’s last World Cup quarter-final after India’s victory yesterday over the West Indies confirmed the placings for the last eight.
It means they have all week to prepare before tackling Sri Lanka next Saturday whilst India’s 80 run win yesterday sets them up for a mouth-watering quarter-final against Australia on Thursday.
The Aussies suffered their first defeat for 34 World Cup matches, a run stretching back 12 years, when losing by four wickets to Pakistan in Colombo on Saturday after being bowled out for 176.
Pakistan, who topped group A, will face the West Indies on Wednesday whilst South Africa - whose dismissal of Bangladesh for 78 to ensure a 206 run win on Friday confirmed England’s quarter-final qualification - will meet New Zealand on Friday.
Should England win, Saturday’s match will be the last of Muttiah Muralitharan’s wonderful international career as he retires from the international game at the end of this tournament.
Firstly he has to shake off a hamstring niggle picked up in taking 4-25 in their 112 run win over New Zealand on Saturday after making 265-9 with Kumar Sangakkara making 111.
In their win yesterday, the Indian suffered the shock of seeing their hero Sachin Tendulkar - standing on 99 international centuries - dismissed in the first over of the game for just two.
It brought an instant and almost total silence to the stadium at Chennai as stunned fans, who moments earlier had provided a raucous welcome, looked on in disbelief.
Ravi Rampaul, who dismissed Tendulkar caught behind, fimished with 5-51.
They were soon cheering Yuvraj Singh who hit 113 in their 268 all out, a total that would have been far bigger but for another alarming batting slump in which they lost their last seven wickets for just 51 runs. Virat Kohli made 59.
West Indies suffered similarly after an excellent start saw them at 154-2 and they lost their last eight wickets for just 34 runs to be all out for 188.
Devon Smith made 81 and his dismissal by Zaheer Khan, who finished with 3-26, triggered the collapse.