India suffered one of their most disappointing days in recent memory as Muttiah Muralitharan’s brilliance knocked them out of the 2007 World Cup in the group stage.
After a humiliating defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, India needed a win against Sri Lanka to up their chances of qualifying for the next round, but half-centuries from Upul Tharanga and Chamara Silva backed up by Muralitharan’s miserly three-wicket haul sent them packing.
Electing to field first, India got the prized scalps of Sanath Jayasuriya (6) and Mahela Jayawerdene (7) pretty early. Kumar Sangakkara (15) too failed to fire but Tharanga and Silva kept things going. The left-handed opener scored 60 to lay a solid foundation before Silva (59) and TM Dilshan (38) carved a crucial 83-run stand for the fifth wicket to prop Sri Lanka forward. A late flourish saw the Islanders finish on a strong 254/6 in their 50 overs.
India were never really in the chase as they lost openers Robin Uthappa (18) and Sourav Ganguly (7) inside the first 11 overs. Dilhara Fernando then got the big fish in Sachin Tendulkar, castling him for a three-ball duck to reduce India to 44/3.
Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid carved a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket to briefly revive the chase but once Sehwag was dismissed for 48, India totally lost their way. Yuvraj Singh was run out for 6 while MS Dhoni was trapped lbw for a duck.
Dravid scored a patient 60 but got no support from any of his other batsmen. In the end, India were bowled out for just 185 in 43.3 overs to fall short by 69 runs.
Muralitharan was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers returning figures of 3/41 while Chaminda Vaas also picked up two wickets. Muralitharan was named Man of the Match for his efforts.