Sri Lanka begins probe into 2011 World Cup final fixing allegations

Opener Upul Tharanga becomes the first player to be questioned

Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga after giving a statement on allegations of match-fixing at the Sri Lanka Police Special Investigations unit for sports-related corruption in Colombo. EPA
Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga after giving a statement on allegations of match-fixing at the Sri Lanka Police Special Investigations unit for sports-related corruption in Colombo. EPA

Sri Lanka opening batsman Upul Tharanga on Wednesday became the first player to be questioned in a probe investigating claims that the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was fixed.

Tharanga, 35, was grilled for two hours by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) examining the final in Mumbai which Sri Lanka lost to India.

"They asked a few questions in connection with the ongoing investigation. I gave my statement," Tharanga was quoted as saying by AFP in Colombo.

Tharanga was called in after investigators quizzed chief selector Aravinda de Silva for nearly six hours on Tuesday.

Police said they will next interview Kumar Sangakkara, the captain of the losing side and the current president of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

The investigation was launched after the then-sports minister claimed that Sri Lanka threw the match at the Wankhede Stadium.

"I feel I can talk about it now," Mahindananda Aluthgamage told a local TV network last month. "I am not connecting players, but some sections were involved."

Sri Lanka bat first and scored 274-6 off 50 overs. They appeared in a commanding position when India opener Sachin Tendulkar was out for 18.

But India turned the game around with match-winning 90s from Gautam Gambhir and captain MS Dhoni. India won the final by six wickets.

Sangakkara and his deputy Mahela Jayawardena quit their positions in the team after the defeat.

The toss of the final was also controversial as it was done twice. Match referee Jeff Crowe apparently did not hear "heads" called by Sangakkara and asked Dhoni to toss again.

Also, Sri Lanka made four changes to the team that won the semi-final against New Zealand.

Match-fixing was made a criminal offence in Sri Lanka in November. Offenders face fines of up to 100 million rupees (Dh2m) and 10 years in jail.

Published: July 1, 2020 04:37 PM

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