Hobbling Murali leads Sri Lanka to victory

MUMBAI, March 18, 2011 (AFP) – Veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan shrugged off a worrying injury scare to take four wickets as Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand by 112 runs in their World Cup Group A clash on Friday. It was always a tough ask for New Zealand on the Wankhede Stadium pitch, which will stage the April 2 final, where the highest ever successful run chase was 229.

Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara had earlier led from the front, hitting a fine 111 as his team posted 265-9 before Muralitharan worked his magic to send the Black Caps crashing to 153 all out after 35 overs.

Muralitharan injured his left hamstring when he dived in vain to prevent being run out when Sri Lanka batted.

He left the field early when New Zealand started their reply, but returned with devastating effect to have Kane Williamson stumped when the batsman was undone by a doosra.

He then had skipper Ross Taylor, who had been dropped on nought, lbw for 33 to leave the Black Caps reeling on 93 for 5. Muralitharan then took a third wicket when he caught Scott Styris (6) off his own bowling to make the score 102-6 in the 24th over.

Fellow spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan got rid of Nathan McCullum for 115-7 to break his