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Images: Sangakkara stars in Lanka's big win

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 23:42 IST

Kiwis struggle against spin

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Skipper Kumar Sangakkara struck his maiden World Cup century before wily Muttiah Muralitharan weaved his spin magic to propel Sri Lanka to a thumping 112-run victory over New Zealand in their concluding Group A match in Mumbai on Friday.

- Scorecard

Sangakkara stroked his way to 111 in 128 balls, studded with two sixes and 11 fours, and also forged an invaluable 145 runs for the third wicket with his predecessor Mahela Jayawardene (66) that helped Lanka amass 265 for nine after opting to bat at the Wankhede stadium.

New Zealand, who had qualified for the knock-out stage along with Sri Lanka, started in whirlwind fashion but lost their openers cheaply before Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Tillakaratne Dilshan strangled them with spin.


Image: Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates after picking up a New Zealand wicket
Photographs: Getty Images
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Murali picks four wickets

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The Kiwis found the going tough while chasing under lights and folded for 153 in 35 overs, losing their last eight wickets for just 71 runs.

It was Sri Lanka's fourth straight win over New Zealand in head-to-head World Cup battles.

Muralitharan, who announced he will retire at the end of the tournament, grabbed four wickets for 25. He got good support from Mendis (2 for 24) and Dilshan (1 for 24).

Among the Kiwi batsmen, stand-in skipper Ross Taylor emerged the top scorer, with 33 in 54 balls, inclusive of one six and three fours, before he became one of Muralitharan's victims. The next best scorers were James Franklin and Jacob Oram, 20 each, the latter remaining unbeaten.

With this win, Sri Lanka also shot to the top of Group A. They finished the league stages with nine points but have a superior net run-rate than Australia, who also have nine points with a match in hand against Pakistan at Colombo.


Image: Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates after picking a wicket
Photographs: Reuters
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Kiwis off to poor start

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But irrespective of the result of the last league clash between Australia and Pakistan, who are tied with New Zealand at eight points, Sri Lanka will finish in second spot and meet the team that finishes third in Group B in the quarter-finals.

New Zealand stood third at the end of the match but await the result of the Australia-Pakistan clash to know where they finish in the league table.

The Kiwis' run-chase got off to a none-too-impressive beginning as both their openers were back inside the first eight overs.

Brendon McCullum, who stroked his way to 101 five days ago at this very ground against minnows Canada, displayed the same kind of form by carting the new ball around briefly, but fell while poking at a rising ball from Angelo Mathews, caught brilliantly at slip by Jayawardene.

Six balls later, his opening partner Martin Guptill departed, trapped leg before by Nuwan Kulasekara with New Zealand in a spot of bother at 33 for two.


Image: Nuwan Kulasekara celebrates after picking the wicket of Martin Guptill
Photographs: Getty Images
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Mendis snaps Ryder

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Things could have become worse for the Kiwis if Jesse Ryder, on seven, and stand-in captain Taylor, on eight, had not been let off in close succession in a Lasith Malinga over.

Left-handed Ryder was first dropped by Upul Tharanga at mid-wicket and then a leaping Kulasekara spilled Taylor's catch at the third man boundary, only to help the ball cross the rope for a six.

The duo settled down to add 49 runs for the third wicket before unorthodox spinner Mendis broke the stand.

Mendis forced Ryder to poke at a faster ball and had him caught behind by Sangakkara, who later stumped new batsman Kane Williamson smartly off Muthiah Muralitharan, leaving New Zealand crumbling at 88 for four in the 20th over.


Image: Kumar Sangakkara celebrates after taking Jesse Ryder's catch
Photographs: Getty Images
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Spinners stifle Kiwis

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Muralitharan then foxed the in-form Taylor with a ball that straightened after pitching and struck the pad. Umpire Asad Rauf upheld the appeal for leg before and the review called for by the Kiwis confirmed it.

From 82 for two, New Zealand had slumped to 93 for five in less than five overs before Muralitharan caught and bowled Scott Styris, leaving the Kiwis tottering at 102 for six, which became 115 for seven when Nathan McCullum edged Tillakaratne Dilshan to Jayawardene at slips.

Franklin was the eighth wicket to fall at 129, and then there was no escape for New Zealand.


Image: Tillakratne Dilshan celebrates after picking a wicket
Photographs: Getty Images
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Skipper leads from the front

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Earlier, skipper Sangakkara led from the front with a brilliant maiden World Cup century.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene's 145-run third-wicket stand third laid the foundation for a competitive score.

However, the Kiwi bowlers and fielders fought back well at the death as they grabbed the last six wickets for only 55 runs.

Sangakkara, who arrived at the crease when Lanka were 13 for one and then saw it become 19 for two, got his 11th ODI hundred and his first in his 28th World Cup match.

Sri Lanka's captain also completed 9,000 runs in his 288th ODI; he is the fourth from his country to achieve the landmark, and 14th overall, after compatriots Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva and Jayawardene.


Image: Sangakkara celebrates after completing his century
Photographs: Getty Images
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Kiwi bowling looked a thin

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The New Zealand bowling attack looked a bit thin in the absence of their injured captain Daniel Vettori and pacer Kyle Mills.

Pacer Tim Southee bowled an impressive first spell before finishing with three for 63 while Jacob Oram was accurate and economical in his first two spells but got a bit of stick in the end to finish with one for 57.

Off-spinner Nathan McCullum also grabbed two wickets.

Overall, their bowling lacked penetration and was milked with ease by the experienced pair of Sangakkara and Jayawardene.

The leg injury to speedster Hamish Bennett, that forced him to leave the field after bowling 25 balls, only made matters worse for the Kiwis.


Image: Nathan McCullum reacts after picking a wicket

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Lanka lose openers early

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The Lankans started their innings on a wrong note, losing both the openers cheaply within the first five overs.

Left-handed Upul Tharanga backed up too far down the track when Tillakartne Dilshan hit a firm drive and the ball was deflected on to the stumps at the non-striker's end.

From 13 for one, it became 19 for two when Dilshan went for an ill-attempted pull shot off Southee and got a leading edge to be caught at third-man by Oram.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene then coolly and calmly restored the innings on a good batting track. They eschewed the risks and used common sense approach to gather runs.


Image: Tim Southee celebrates after dismissing Upul Tharanga
Photographs: Getty Images
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Controversy on the field

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Jayawardene had a close shave when on 26 in a total of 87 when off spinner Nathan McCullum dived to his right off his own bowling and seemed to have brought off a stunning catch.

But television replays, after the matter was referred to third umpire Amiesh Saheba, suggested he had not completed the catch and the batsman was declared not out.

The bowler argued with the umpire and could face a reprimand from match referee Andy Pycroft.

The Lankan 100 came up just before the 25th over ended and then the 33-year-old Sangakkara reached his second half century of the tournament off 77 balls and with the help of five fours.


Image: Umpire Asad Rauf talks to Nathan McCullum
Photographs: Getty Images
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