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Is he the greatest World Cup player?

Last updated on: March 13, 2015 16:36 IST

The Sri Lankan champ seems unstoppable at the World Cup with four centuries in a row, the first man to do so in the history of ODIs. Rajneesh Gupta makes the case.

Kumar Sangakkara

Image: Kumar Sangakkara celebrates his century against Bangladesh. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Sri Lanka's batting star Kumar Sangakkara is bowing out on a high!

The wicket-keeper batsman, who will retire from One-Day Internationals at the end of the World Cup, is on a record-breaking spree.

Sangakkara created a new world record when he scored his fourth consecutive hundred in the ongoing ICC World Cup, against Scotland in Hobart, on Wednesday, March 11.

Never in the history of One-Day Internationals has a batsman scored four hundreds on the trot.

The sequence started with Sangakkara scoring an unbeaten 105 off 76 balls against Bangladesh, followed by an unbeaten 117 off 86 balls against England, 104 off 107 balls against Australia at Sydney and 124 off 95 balls against Scotland.

The 37-year-old left-hander will have a chance to extend his amazing run when Sri Lanka play the first quarter-final on March 18 at Sydney, with their opponents most likely to be South Africa.

Check out the batsmen who have hit most consecutive hundreds in ODIs:

100s Batsman Runs Vs Venue Date
4 Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 105* Ban Melbourne 26-02-2015
117* Eng Wellington 01-03-2015
104 Aus Sydney 08-03-2015
124 Scot Hobart BO 11-03-2015
3 Zaheer Abbas (Pak) 118 Ind Multan 17-12-1982
105 Ind Lahore 31-12-1982
113 Ind Karachi 21-01-1983
3 Saeed Anwar (Pak) 107 SL Sharjah 30-10-1993
131 WI Sharjah 01-11-1993
111 SL Sharjah 02-11-1993
3 Herschelle Gibbs (SA) 116 Ken Colombo RPS 20-09-2002
116* Ind Colombo RPS 25-09-2002
153 Ban Potchefstroom 03-10-2002
3 AB de Villiers (SA) 114* Ind Gwalior 24-02-2010
102* Ind Ahmedabad 27-02-2010
102 WI North Sound 22-05-2010
3 Quinton de Kock (SA) 134 Ind Johannesburg 05-12-2013
106 Ind Durban 08-12-2013
101 Ind Centurion 11-12-2013
3 Ross Taylor (NZ) 112* Ind Hamilton 28-01-2014
102 Ind Wellington 31-01-2014
105* Pak Dubai 08-12-2014

No other batsman had scored more than two consecutive hundreds in the World Cup before Sangakkara set the bar to a different level altogether.

Sangakkara's four hundreds in the 2015 edition are the most by any player in the single edition of a World Cup.

Three others -- Mark Waugh, Sourav Ganguly and Matthew Hayden -- had scored three hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup, but none of them did it in consecutive innings.

Kumar Sangakkara

Image: Kumar Sangakkara in action. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Most hundreds in a World Cup:

100s Batsman Runs Vs Venue Date
4 Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 105* Ban Melbourne 26-02-2015
117* Eng Wellington 01-03-2015
104 Aus Sydney 08-03-2015
124 Scot Hobart BO 11-03-2015
3 Mark Waugh (Aus) 130 Ken Visakhapatnam 23-02-1996
126 Ind Mumbai WS 27-02-1996
110 NZ Chennai 11-03-1996
3 Sourav Ganguly (Ind) 112* Nam Pietermaritzburg 23-02-2003
107* Ken Cape Town 07-03-2003
111* Ken Durban 20-03-2003
3 Matthew Hayden (Aus) 101 SA Basseterre 24-03-2007
158 WI North Sound 27-03-2007
103 NZ   20-04-2007

Sangakkara is, in fact, the first batsman to score four hundreds (on the trot or otherwise) in ANY series or tournament in ODI history.

During his 104 against Australia, Sangakkara completed 14,000 runs in the 50-over format, only the second batsman behind Sachin Tendulkar to do so.

Sangakkara's ODI aggregate currently stands at 1,487 runs from 36 World Cup games, the third highest run aggregate for any batsman in World Cups behind only Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting.

Sangakkara has the best batting average among the leading run-scorers in the World Cup as is evident from the following table:

Most runs in a World Cup:

  Mts Runs Hs Avg 100s 50s SR
Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 45 2278 152 56.95 6 15 88.98
Ricky Ponting (Aus) 46 1743 140* 45.87 5 6 79.95
Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 36 1487 124 57.19 5 7 88.83
Brian Lara (WI) 34 1225 116 42.24 2 7 85.90
Sanath Jayasuriya (SL) 38 1165 120 34.26 3 6 90.73
Jacques Kallis (SA) 36 1148 128* 45.92 1 9 74.40
Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL) 26 1112 161* 55.60 4 4 93.52
Mahela Jayawardene (SL) 39 1096 115* 36.53 4 5 86.71
Adam Gilchrist (Aus) 31 1085 149 36.17 1 8 97.92

Kumar Sangakkara

Image: Kumar Sangakkara stumps Australian opener Aaron Finch. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Sangakkara added another World Cup record during the game against Scotland.

His catch of Michael Leask gave Sangakkara his 53rd dismissal behind the stumps in World Cups -- one more than Adam Gilchrist, the previous record holder.

By next catching Matthew Cross he took his dismissal tally in World Cups to 54 -- the highest for any wicket-keeper in World Cup history.

Check out the most wicket-keeping dismissals in World Cups:

Wicket-keeper Matches Dismissals Catches Stumpings
Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 36 54 41 13
Adam Gilchrist (Aus) 31 52 45 7
Brendon McCullum (NZ) 30 32 30 2
Mark Boucher (SA) 25 31 31 0
Moin Khan (Pak) 20 30 23 7
M S Dhoni (Ind) 17 26 21 5
Denesh Ramdin (WI) 14 25 25 0

The left-hander also completed his 500 dismissals in ODIs when he caught Leask.

His tally includes 382 catches as wicket-keeper, 99 stumpings and 19 catches in the outfield.

During his 124 against Scotland, Sangakkara also completed 2,000 ODI runs on Australian grounds, becoming the first Asian and only the third non-Australian batsman to do so.

Among the leading overseas batsmen in Australia, Sangakkara has the highest batting average, best strike rate and most hundreds.

Most ODI runs on Australian grounds by a non-Australian:

  Mts Runs Hs Avg 100s 50s SR
Desmond Haynes (WI) 94 3067 123* 36.51 4 22 59.16
Viv Richards (WI) 73 2769 153* 44.66 3 24 84.55
Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 48 2038 128 46.32 5 11 84.88
Javed Miandad (Pak) 60 1913 89 35.43 0 15 59.52
Brian Lara (WI) 52 1901 156 40.45 4 13 70.88
Gordon Greenidge (WI) 43 1731 110* 43.28 3 12 64.30
Richie Richardson (WI) 74 1661 81 26.37 0 15 55.83
Mahela Jayawardene (SL) 58 1620 120 31.76 1 13 81.41
John Wright (NZ) 57 1541 84 27.52 0 12 53.60
Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 47 1491 117* 34.67 1 10 75.19
Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL) 41 1494 161* 45.27 4 7 86.36

From 2011 to 2014, Sangakkara has scored 1,000 or more runs in each calendar year.

He has already scored 817 runs in just 13 matches in 2015 and is soon set to become the first batsman to aggregate 1,000 or more runs in ODIs in FIVE consecutive years!

Sangakkara's run tally in ODIs (in each calendar year since 2011):

Year Mts Runs Hs Avg SR 100 50 0
2011 27 1127 111 51.22 73.32 1 9 0
2012 31 1184 133 43.85 79.14 3 6 0
2013 25 1201 169 63.21 89.56 2 10 3
2014 28 1256 128 46.51 87.70 4 8 2
2015 13 817 124 90.77 110.10 5 2 0

If he completes the landmark of 1,000 runs in 2015, Sangakkara will also equal Tendulkar's record of aggregating 1,000 or more ODI runs in a calendar year on seven occasions, the most by any player in the 50-over format.

Batsmen scoring 1,000 runs in a calendar year on most occasions:

Occasions Player
7 Sachin Tendulkar (Ind)
6 Sourav Ganguly (Ind)
6 Ricky Ponting (Aus)
6 Kumar Sangakkara (SL)

REDIFF RECOMMENDS:

Rajneesh Gupta, for Rediff.com