Same old story for cricket's Black Caps

RICHARD MAUNTAH, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:58 PM ET

TORONTO - Sixth time unlucky. The close-but-not-close-enough story of New Zealand at the Cricket World Cup continues.

But full credit to a side that always finds a way to create excitement. After beating South Africa with a quick succession of wickets when it looked like the Proteas would roll by them, they gave Sri Lanka a major scare and may have been only one more wicket away from causing a fall of the dominoes once again.

“We set up a great platform,” captain Daniel Vettori said. “But we lost too many wickets at the end and they’re a tough group of bowlers to start against.

“We scrapped very hard and gave ourselves a chance but just missed out.”

It was the second consecutive semifinal that New Zealand lost to Sri Lanka. Four years ago in Kingston, Jamaica, Sri Lanka posted an 81-run triumph.

RESIGNING CAPTAINS: Vettori announced that Tuesday’s match was his last as captain of New Zealand. The 32-year-old Auckland native has had the helm since 2007 and like every other captaincy, it’s a roller coaster.

“The captaincy comes and goes,” he said. “Sometimes I enjoyed it, sometimes I didn’t.

“But I love this group of guys and the coaching staff and I look forward to just keeping on playing.”

That roller coaster ended for another captain Tuesday as Ricky Ponting announced his resignation as Australia’s test and one-day skipper in Sydney. But he answered critics who felt the mantle should have been passed previously.

“If the decision was too late I think I would’ve had the selectors and my bosses in Cricket Australia telling me a while ago they felt my time might’ve been up,” he said. “I can go on record again and say I have never received that sort of message from the selectors or from Cricket Australia.”

BETTING FURY: Reports are estimating that $1.1 billion (U.S.) will be exchanged in wagering on Wednesday’s India-Pakistan match. To put that in perspective, Las Vegas bookmakers took about $100 million in bets on Super Bowl XLV. According to Ladbrokes, a $100 bet on India will yield $160 while the same on Shahid Afridi’s side will yield $225.


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