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Sri Lanka register big win over NZ

Associated Press
Mar 18, 2011 at 10:34pm IST

Mumbai: Sri Lanka crushed New Zealand by 112 runs on Friday to finish their World Cup Group A campaign with a flourish.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara scored his first World Cup century to help Sri Lanka recover from the early loss of both openers and reach 265-9, then his bowlers proved far too strong for New Zealand.

Muttiah Muralitharan ignored an apparent hamstring injury to take 4-25 as the tournament co-hosts dismissed New Zealand for 153 to record their first win over a test-ranked team at the tournament.

Sri Lanka register big win over New Zealand

Muralitharan foxed the Kiwi batsmen with his guile and picked up four wickets in his team's 112-run win.

Sri Lanka will finish second in Group A behind the winner of Saturday's match between defending champion Australia and Pakistan.

New Zealand, which also lost to Australia earlier in the group stage, can finish no better than third.

With the Group B final standings still far from clear, both sides will have to wait to find out their quarterfinal opponents. Regardless of the opposition, Sri Lanka should head into the knockout stage with plenty of confidence after a convincing win.

New Zealand rued a content_cnious decision midway through Sri Lanka's innings when Nathan McCullum appeared to take a wonderful diving catch to dismiss Mahela Jayawardene on 26 — only for third umpire Amiesh Saheba to decide that replays did not prove conclusively that the catch was taken cleanly.

Stand-in captain Taylor had to step in to prevent an aggrieved McCullum talking himself into trouble with the umpire at the end of the over.

Jayawardene went on to make 66 in a 145-run partnership with man-of-the-match Sangakkara after they came together in the fifth over with the score at 19-2.

New Zealand had made a bright start, with Tim Southee and Jacob Oram causing havoc with the new ball, but it was set back first by an injury to Hamish Bennett and then by the Jayawardene incident.

Sri Lanka had reached 87-2 when Jayawardene looked certain to go. Nathan McCullum took a stunning return catch off his own bowling, diving full length to his right to get his fingers to the ball just before it hit the ground.

The on-field umpires weren't sure the ball hadn't grounded and sent the decision to review, and McCullum was clearly furious when Saheba's decision was relayed, despite one replay showing the bowler appearing to take the catch cleanly.

Bennett joined fellow bowlers Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori on the injury list when he turned his ankle while bowling in the 31st over.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara made the most of the letoff as both reached their half-centuries, with the captain joining a list of 13 other players to score 9,000th ODI runs.

Jayawardene fell to Southee before Sangakkara's 11th one-day century — and first since 2008 — arrived in the 40th over. The captain's departure two overs later sparked a late flurry of wickets.

Angelo Mathews was not for 41 at the end as a succession of partners came and went, with six wickets falling for 50 runs.

Southee moved on to 14 wickets for the tournament with his 3-63, but he also proved expensive and conceded five wides.

The Kiwis' sense of injustice can't have been helped when Nathan McCullum's younger brother Brendon (14) was brilliantly caught at slip by Jayawardene early in New Zealand's chase.

McCullum called for a review after being given out — and this time, Saheba was convinced.

Once Martin Guptill was trapped lbw by Nuwan Kulasekara, New Zealand desperately needed a partnership to match that of Sangakkara and Jayawardene, but the wickets kept falling.

Jesse Ryder (19) and Kane Williamson (5) fell cheaply, and the in-form Taylor (33) rode his luck before Muralitharan had him adjudged lbw — an decision referral failing to save the Kiwi skipper.

Muralitharan left the field twice for treatment after he appeared to hurt himself trying to avoid a runout while batting, but he returned to bowl a beguiling spell, ably assisted by Ajantha Mendis, to send New Zealand to a heavy defeat.

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