Skipper hails 'champion' Malinga
Kumar Sangakkara was delighted with Lasith Malinga's explosive return from injury against Kenya.
Last Updated: 02/03/11 12:43pm
Kumar Sangakkara was impressed with Sri Lanka's mental strength after they came back strongly from the defeat against Pakistan to overwhelm Kenya by nine wickets in the World Cup.
The victory was set up by Lasith Malinga, who claimed six wickets including a hat-trick, to bundle out Kenya for 142 inside 44 overs.
Sri Lanka overhauled the target inside 19 overs, thanks to an unbeaten half-century from opener Upul Tharanga (67) and a 30-ball 44 from Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Captain Sangakkara, who faced some criticism following Saturday's 11-run Group A defeat to Pakistan, is delighted to have pulled off a comprehensive victory against Kenya.
"It was important to come back from Saturday. We showed we are mentally strong and finished it off today," he said.
When asked about the strategy of the team while bowling, the skipper said: "We were trying for early wickets, and they were looking to play 50 overs. But we knew the wickets would come."
Sangakkara heaped praise on Malinga, who took an unprecedented second World Cup hat-trick, saying: "Lasith the champion did a great job for us."
Malinga is now the only player to have taken two World Cup hat-tricks, having claimed four in four balls against South Africa at the 2007 event.
"I rate my performance in 2007 better than this because at that stage South Africa were virtually winning the game and I was able to get the hat-trick and brought Sri Lanka back into the game," he said.
"But again achieving a hat-trick is big and also the fact that I ended up with six wickets in a World Cup game, that gives lot of satisfaction.
"Whenever the captain hands me the ball I am prepared to be at the service of my team and I do my utmost to contribute to the team's effort and I am happy that I was able to do this well."
Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande regretted that brothers Collins and David Obuya could not stay until the end despite reaching half-centuries.
"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," Kamande said.
"If the Obuyas could have been there until the end, things could have been different."