Malinga six-pack stuns Kenya bats
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga celebrated his first game of the World Cup with a hat-trick in a devastating six-wicket haul as the home side thrashed Kenya by nine wickets yesterday.
Malinga showed no signs of the back strain which had prevented him from competing in Sri Lanka's first two games in Group A and his career-best figures of six for 38 shot out Kenya for 142 in 43.4 overs.
Sri Lanka then raced to 146 for one in just 18.4 overs for the loss of opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 44 off 30 balls.
“I am happy that I don't have any injuries,” Malinga said. “After playing this match I think I will be able to play the rest of the matches.”
Upul Tharanga toyed with Kenya's weak bowling attack and hit 12 boundaries in his unbeaten knock of 67 off 59 balls while captain Kumar Sangakkara scored 27.
“We showed we are still a good side and we are mentally strong,” Sangakkara said. “We came out and finished the game pretty well.”
Kenya's batting line-up crumbled against Malinga's pace after captain Jimmy Kamande made a brave decision to bat first.
Malinga won a referral against Tanmay Mishra's leg before wicket decision off the last delivery of his seventh over and then clean bowled Peter Ongondo and Shem Ngoche off successive deliveries in his next over.
He claimed his fourth wicket in six deliveries by clean bowling last man Elijah Otieno.
Malinga became the only bowler to claim two hat-tricks in the World Cup after his four wickets in four deliveries against South Africa in Guyana in the 2007 tournament. He also surpassed his previous best of five for 34 against Pakistan at Dambulla last year.
“I am so happy that I got a second World Cup hat-trick,” Malinga said. “Like me, my parents too are very happy.”
Yesterday'shat-trick was the second at the World Cup in as many days after West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach's feat against Netherlands at New Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
Brothers Collins Obuya (52) and David Obuya (51) struck half centuries and added 94 runs for Kenya's third wicket, but the rest of the batting showed little signs of improvement from their two previous heavy defeats against New Zealand and Pakistan.
Kamande's decision to throw his batsmen against a strong Sri Lankan bowling line-up looked to have backfired when the fast bowlers struck early and reduced the African nation to eight for two.
Nuwan Kulasekara trapped Morris Ouma leg before off his second delivery while Malinga bowled in a lively yorker to dismiss Seren Waters off his seventh ball.
The Obuya brothers resurrected Kenya's innings but never looked like threatening the Sri Lankan bowlers, despite benefiting from the Decision Referral System (DRS).
Sangakkara called for a referral to try and win a leg before wicket decision when Collins was on 30, but Muttiah Muralitharan's offspinner was going well over the stumps.
David Obuya successfully overturned umpire Tony Hill's lbw verdict off spinner Ajantha Mendis when he was on 26.
Malinga finally broke the third wicket stand in his return spell when he had Collins Obuya bowled off another sharp yorker as rest of the batting promptly crumbled.
“With the kind of Sri Lankan bowling attack 230 was what we were looking at, but it didn't work out that way,” Kamande said.
Sri Lanka now have four points from three matches after a 210-run victory over Canada and a narrow 11-run defeat against Pakistan.
Kenya which qualified for the 2003 semi-finals and defeated Sri Lanka in a group match in South Africa has so far struggled against Test nations with a 10-wicket defeat against New Zealand, 205-run loss to Pakistan and yesterday's yet another big defeat.
Sri Lanka next plays against Australia on Saturday while Kenya travel to New Delhi to take on Canada on March 7.