Sri Lanka crushed New Zealand to run home winners with an easy win at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Sri Lanka won by 112 runs after scoring 265 in their 50 overs and ensured that they would end the group in the top two positions. Kumar Sangakkara was named the man of the match for his century.
Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. The decision was prompted by the high temperatures in Mumbai and the 2.30 pm start, which would have made fielding difficult to begin with. However, the decision seemed to have backfired at one stage when the side lost two wickets before even getting to 20 in the fifth over.
It was then, the partnership between Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene that rescued the side. Jayawardene should have probably been given out when he accorded a catch back to the bowler but the third umpire decided to give the Lankan batsman a benefit of the doubt.
From there, Sangakkara went on to get a century whereas Jayawardene made a 66 to ensure that the side would get to a big total. In fact, at 210/3 in the 42nd over, one felt that 300 was achievable but there was a collapse that saw the side losing their last six wickets for 55 runs in the last eight overs or so.
However, that proved to be enough as none of the New Zealand batsmen could get to more than what Ross Taylor got – 33. There were a couple of 20s and a 13, 14 and a 19 but the wily bowling from Muthiah Muralitharan meant that the side was left with too much to get once the wickets started falling.
Muralitharan, who was suffering from a hamstring strain, bowled his eight overs for 25 but most importantly, took four wickets. He was difficult to read for the opponents and this was despite the ball not turning due to the dew in the outfield.
The win for Sri Lanka meant that they finish with nine points from their games. New Zealand ended with eight points. Australia and Pakistan play against each other and have nine and eight respectively, which means that if Australia win, the top four will be led by them and followed by Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Pakistan. If Pakistan go on to win the game, the Pakistanis will lead the group, followed by Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.
In the other group, South Africa have eight points from five, India have seven from five, England have seven from six, West Indies have six from five whereas Bangladesh have six from five as well. Bangladesh play South Africa while India play West Indies in the last two games of the group which will decide which four teams go through and at what position.
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