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Cricket World Cup: Malinga hat-trick hammers Kenya

World Cup Group A, Colombo (R Premadasa Stadium):
Sri Lanka 146-1 (18.4 overs) bt Kenya 142 (43.4 overs) by 9 wickets

Match scorecard

Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga

Malinga hat-trick skittles Kenya (UK users only)

By Phil Dawkes

Pace bowler Lasith Malinga claimed six wickets - including a hat-trick - as Sri Lanka eased to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Kenya in Group A.

Half centuries from brothers Collins and David Obuya had helped Kenya to 128-5 near the end of their innings.

But five wickets in 11 balls from Malinga dismissed the Kenyans for 142 and gave the bowler figures of 6-38.

Sri Lanka breezed to their target thanks largely to Tillakaratne Dilshan (44) and Upul Tharanga (67 not out).

The last time these two met in the World Cup was in 2003, when Sri Lanka put aside security concerns to travel to Nairobi only to suffer a shock 43-run defeat.

However, Malinga ensured that such an outcome was never likely to repeat itself with an impressive opening salvo and a truly stunning final burst to blow away the Kenyan tail.

1987: Chetan Sharma (India) v New Zealand
1999: Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan) v Zimbabwe
2003: Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka) v Bangladesh
2003: Brett Lee (Australia) v Kenya
2007: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) v South Africa
2011: Kemar Roach (West Indies) v Netherlands
2011: Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) v Kenya

The unorthodox 27-year-old seamer - nicknamed "Malinga the Slinger" due to his unique round-arm action - had not featured in Sri Lanka's first two matches due to a back injury but quickly made up for lost time to serve warning that the co-hosts are still firmly in the hunt for the trophy after last Saturday's 11-run loss to Pakistan.

"It was important to come back from Saturday. We showed we are mentally strong and finished it off today," said Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara.

"We tried to stop as many runs as we could and keep them down so that the wickets would come at the end and Lasith as usual, the champion that he is, with the ball reversing, did a great job for us."

Malinga and fellow opener Nuwan Kulasekara had Kenya reeling at 8-2, with an lbw apiece to dismiss opening pair Seren Waters and Maurice Ouma.

However, Kenya rallied under the stewardship of brothers Collins and David Obuya, who each overturned an lbw decision on review, from Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis respectively, during a resilient but slow-paced stand of 94.

Significantly, Kenya's resistance was forged during Malinga's absence from the attack but the pace bowler's return reaped immediate dividend as another quick and accurate yorker hammered into Collins Obuya's off stump to bring an end to his 52-run innings, amassed from exactly 100 balls.

Even with wickets in hand, Kenya never looked likely to post a competitive total, and the subsequent loss of Steve Tikolo (caught by Dilshan at point off Matthews) and David Obuya (who beat his brother's earlier 2011 World Cup slowest half century record by four balls before being caught by Thilan Samaweera off Muralitheran) stripped them of any momentum.

With Kenya 128-5, Malinga returned and subsequently destroyed Kenya's tail with five wickets in 11 balls, all of which came courtesy of his near-unplayable inswinging yorker.

Tilakaratne Dilshan
Dilshan blazed 44 in 30 balls for Sri Lanka

"We were looking for 230, but things did not work out. We were in a good position for 35 overs, but then the damage happened," said Kenya skipper Jimmy Kamande. "If the Obuyas could have been there until the end, things could have been different."

Malinga's end-of-innings assault included his hat-trick, which saw him trap Tanmay Mishra lbw from the last ball of his eighth over and then bowl both Peter Ongondo and Shem Ngoche with the first two balls of his ninth.

It is Malinga's second World Cup hat-trick, after he claimed four wickets in four balls against South Africa in 2007, and the second treble in as many days at this year's tournament after Kemar Roach claimed one during the West Indies' 215-run win over the Netherlands in New Delhi.

Kenya's total is their highest in the tournament so far but it was never going to be enough to trouble Sri Lanka, but the co-hosts made extremely light work of reaching it.

Dilshan provided the initial impetus with a typically aggressive 44 before he gloved a well-directed short ball from Elijah Otieno to wicket-keeper Ouma.

However, Dilshan's fellow opener Tharanga and Sangakkara (26 not out) ensured Sri Lanka brought up a hundred total from 82 balls - the fastest of this World Cup - and saw them home with ease.

Sri Lanka next face holders Australia on the same ground on Saturday.

"Saturday's going to be a big game for us and hopefully we can keep improving, make sure we have a lot more energy on the field and hopefully do well enough to beat Australia," said Sangakkara.

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see also
Efficient Pakistan beat Sri Lanka
26 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Afridi stars in Pakistan victory
23 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Bennett helps NZ demolish Kenya
20 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Ruthless Sri Lanka thrash Canada
20 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup history in pictures
14 Feb 11 |  Cricket
World Cup guide: Sri Lanka
14 Feb 11 |  Sri Lanka
World Cup guide: Kenya
14 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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