Murali shines as Sri Lanka win heavily
A Muttiah Muralidaran inspired Sri Lanka rolled New Zealand out for 153, to win by 112 runs in the Group A match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Muralidaran, battling with a hamstring injury he suffered whilst batting, defied the pain to run through the Kiwi middle-order, grabbing 4 for 25 in eight, high quality overs.
“We came with hopes of taking momentum into the quarters, but the way Kulasekara ... umm, Kumar Sangakkara, played took us out of the game,” Ross Taylor said after the Kiwi demise.
Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to bat, and they had to rely on a stand of 145 between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, after the Kiwis had struck early to remove the openers.
Upul Tharanga was very unlucky to be run out at the non-striker’s end, as Tim Southee got a finger onto a Tillakaratne Dilshan drive to catch him out of his crease.
Dilshan then miscued an attempted shot to leg, and the leading edge found its way to Jacob Oram at third-man, as Sri Lanka slipped to 19 for 2.
There was a bit of drama midway through the innings, as Nathan McCullum claimed a dicey caught and bowled dismissal off Jayawardene, but replays showed that the ball touched the ground.
Jayawardene and McCullum were briefly involved in a verbal joust, though Jayawardene soon got the last laugh as he spanked the off-spinner for four.
Sangakkara reached his half-century first, as Sri Lanka picked up their scoring rate after the 30th over.
Jayawardene obliged with his 56th fifty in ODIs, but he then fell in the 37th over, just as they took a batting powerplay.
Sangakkara took advantage of the field restrictions, as he smashed Southee for 14 off an over, eventually reaching his 11th one-day hundred – and a first in the World Cup – from 119 balls.
When he departed in the 42nd over, the score was 210 for 4, and Sri Lanka still had designs on a score nearing 280.
But New Zealand bowled and fielded well, to see Sri Lanka eventually close on 265 for 9, as the last six wickets fell for 55 runs.
Tim Southee was expensive as he took 3 for 63, but Nathan McCullum bowled cleverly to snare 2 for 48 in his ten overs.
SPINNERS TAKING OVER
The Kiwi chase started solidly enough, with Brendon McCullum searing some explosive cuts to the point boundary off the pacemen, until he was undone by a fine delivery from Angelo Mathews. It nipped away just enough, and McCullum’s edge was snapped up brilliantly by Jayawardene at slip.
Guptill then fell in the next over, trapped leg-before by the accurate Kulasekara for 13. Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor then combined for 49 runs for the third wicket, before the Sri Lankan spinners took over.
Mendis had Ryder caught behind for 19, before Williamson was undone by a perfect doosra from Muralidaran, which beat the bat and had the Kiwi batsman stumped expertly by Sangakara.
The record-breaking spinner then had Taylor plumb in front, as Sri Lanka really turned the screws.
Scott Styris and James Franklin were both flummoxed by Muralidaran’s flight and pace, and they both offered easy catches as New Zealand crumble towards defeat.
Dilshan had the dangerous Nathan McCullum well held by the irrepressible Jayawardene at slip, before Malinga returned to shatter Hamish Bennett’s stumps to seal the 112-run win.
The clinical display by Sri Lanka will serve as a stern warning to other sides, as the tournament heads towards the business end.
“We know we are well on our way,” Sangakkara said. “Murali the legend, bowling on one leg, bowled so well. We have a few days before the next game, and we hope he will be fully fit for the quarter-finals. We want to make sure he enjoys himself, and we want him to bowl and take wickets."
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum (wk), Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor (capt), Kane Williamson, Scott Styris, James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee and Hamish Bennett.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakarra (wk/capt), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajintha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan.