(CNN) -- Hosts Sri Lanka are through to their second successive Cricket World Cup final after beating New Zealand by five wickets in Colombo on Tuesday.
The Black Caps struggled throughout their innings, failing to use their allocated 50 overs before eventually being skittled out for just 217 in 48.5 overs.
And although Sri Lanka wobbled in their reply, Thilan Samaraweera (23 not out) and Angelo Mathews (14 not out) saw them home with a crucial 35-run stand as the home side made 220-5 off 47.5 overs -- inflicting a sixth semifinal defeat on New Zealand.
As well as the significance of a World Cup semifinal, the match also marked the last apperance on home soil for legendary Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan.
The 38-year-old, who is the most successful Test and one-day bowler in cricket history, went out in style, taking his 534th one-day wicket off his very last ball.
Muralitharan had New Zealand top scorer Scott Styris (57) lbw to send the 38,000-crowd at the R. Premadasa stadium into wild scenes of celebration.
It was one of Muralitharan's two wickets, with Ajantha Mendis (3-35) and Lasith Malinga (3-55) also successful as New Zealand rarely threatened to post a score big enough to defend.
In reply, Tillakaratne Dilshan (73) and skipper Kumar Sangakkara (54) helped Sri Lanka reach 160-1 to appear in total control.
However, the loss of four wickets for just 25 runs threatened to derail Sri Lankan hopes before Samaraweera and Mathews steered them to their victory target.
The victory moves 1996 champions Sri Lanka into their third final and, after finishing runners-up to Australia in 2007, they will be looking to make amends when they face either India or Pakistan in Saturday's final in Mumbai.
Those two rivals face each other in Mohali on Wednesday in one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in recent history.