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Champions Trophy: Century man Sanga eyeing semis berth

June 14, 2013 10:36 IST

Champions Trophy: Century man Sanga eyeing semis berth

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Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara has described his match-winning unbeaten knock of 134 against England in the Champions Trophy, as one of the best innings of his career.

"Yeah, it has to be (one of the best knocks). And I am pretty happy about it and am all the more so as we won the match  have kept ourselves alive in the tournament," Sangakkara said.

He also gave credit to Mahela Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara for his side's win.

"We had to play well at the start, see off Jimmy Anderson but Mahela played really well and we got on top of it. Kulasekara took the pressure off me and those two big overs, off Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, were decisive," said Sangakkara after guiding his side to a seven-wicket win over England at the Oval.

Sangakkara, who was adjudged man-of-the-match, said his side would now focus on beating Australia in their last Group A match to book a berth in the semi-finals.

"That's the Champions Trophy for you, the pressure is on; players aspire to play in it. I'm pleased to have done well today. We've got to win another one, the Aussies are a tough outfit so we'll have to prepare well."


Image: Kumar Sangakkara
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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'The management decided to promote Kula and the move paid off'

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Captain Angelo Mathews was all praise for Sangakkara for his match-winning knock.

"We needed this win, to be honest. We started confidently and the bowlers were really good in the middle overs, we just had one go for 20 runs near the end," he said.

"Sanga batted really well, it's great to have a player like him at number three. We had a chat at the break with the batters, thought it might swing and seam a little but the pitch played really well," he said.

Asked about the promotion of Nuwan Kulasekara up the order, Mathews said, "The management decided (to promote Kula), he's been batting really well and it paid off.

"The last game we were rusty, in the field missing catches but we can keep improving," he added.


Image: Nuwan Kulasekara
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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'I thought 300 was about par'

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England captain Alastair Cook said the Lankans deserved to win the match.

"Obviously that was an outstanding hundred, any time you chase 300 someone has to play well. The pitch quickened up but sometimes you have to give credit where it's due," he said.

"The rate was always seven, we could have taken a couple more wickets but they played well. It was very hard to get the ball to reverse swing and it was changed after 21 overs. I thought 300 was about par. If you add another 20 runs on that would probably have been enough.

"We have to win one of these two games. Hopefully we'll come back strongly at Cardiff (against New Zealand)." 


Image: Alastair Cook
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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