Kumar Sangakkara has announced his retirement from ODIs after the World Cup. One will wonder why after such a record-breaking performance. If he sticks to his decision, Sanga will be one world cricketer, who would hang his boots in the zenith of his personal glory. After equaling the record of three consecutive ODI hundreds, he did even better in match no.35 of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup at Hobart on March 11, 2015. Now there is no one in the world, who has logged in 4 consecutive centuries in the 50-over formats. While Sanga’s century remained the talking point of the day despite Tilakaratne Dilshan also coming up with another brilliant century, Sanga surpassed another record that went nearly unnoticed. Until yesterday, Adam Gilchrist had been holding the record of highest World Cup wicket-keeping dismissals but Sangakkara went past that as well. After scoring a massive 363/9, Sri Lanka dismissed Scotland for 215 and won the match by 148 runs. If in the remaining league games, Australia beats Scotland and New Zealand defeats Bangladesh, Sri Lanka will finish third in Pool A.
Sri Lanka won the toss at Hobart and elected to bat first. The loss of Lahiru Thirimanne early could have been termed as an early setback. In Sri Lanka’s case yesterday, it turned out to be a boon since it brought two in-form batsmen together early in the innings. The 37-year old Sangakkara and 38-year old Dilshan carved out a 195-run second wicket stand before Dilshan departed after making a 99-ball 104. The unstoppable Sanga had already completed his record shattering feat and though he and Mahela Jayawardane got out at the same score, skipper Angelo Mathews picked up the tabs from then onwards. With Thisara Perera for company, Mathews blasted a 21-ball 51 with one four and 6 sixes. Perera also belted 2 fours and 2 sixes in his 24 scored off 13 balls. Kulasekara and Chameera made small contributions but they ensured that Sri Lanka finished at 363/9 after 50 overs.
The 364-run chase was too monumental for Scotland, who began by losing Kyle Coetzer in the first over from Lasith Malinga. By the 12th over, Scotland had lost two more wickets and 44/3 looked like leading them to a huge loss. But skipper Preston Mommsen and Fredie Coleman offered solid resistance and frustrated the Sri Lankan bowlers for as long as the 32nd over, by which time, the two Scotland batsmen had added 118 runs for the fourth wicket. Mommsen got out for 60, when he tried to force the pace of a Thisara Perera delivery but ended up with an uppish shot that was nicely take by Lahiru Thirimanne. When Coleman also got out in the 36th over for a commendable 70 off 74 balls, the floodgates opened. The last 5 scotland batsmen could only muster 26 runs as their innings caved in for 215 in the 44th over. Sri Lanka ended with a 148-run triumph to the sheer delight of a large number of their fans present in the stands.
It was the 20th time in their illustrious career that Sangakkara and Dilshan have forked out a century stand. In ODI history, their consistent double-act is second only to that produced by India’s Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. After the match, no one talked about Angelo Mathews’ second-fastest fifty of 2015 World Cup in 20 balls.