Sangakkara is the most feared batsman, not AB, says Muralitharan

2015-03-10 00:00

WELLINGTON — AB de Villiers has been pushed aside by Kumar Sangakkara as the batsman to fear the most on the eve of the World Cup’s knockout stages.

That is the view of Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka’s former spin wizard, about his former team-mate’s ­unequalled performances at the tournament so far.

Scoring 104 in Sydney against ­Australia on Sunday, Sangakarra became the first batsman in the history of the World Cup to score centuries in three successive matches.

Prior to that match the 37-year-old veteran also hit 117* against England and 105* against Bangladesh and is ­currently the top batsman at this year’s tournament, with a total of 372 runs in five matches (with an amazing average of 124).

South Africa’s AB de Villiers is in second place with 318 runs and will probably lead his team against Sangakarra’s Sri Lanka in the first of the four quarter-finals.

“You can talk as much as you like about Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell but Kumar is the ­batsman most feared by other teams,” Muralitharan told the International Cricket Council’s website.

“Kumar is currently the world’s number one batsman in one-day cricket. He seems to be a man on a mission and he has the ability to hit big scores quicker than a run a ball and without any effort.”

According to Muralitharan, his former team have also inspired the other players. “The rest of the batsmen have caught on to this and it seems as if Sri Lanka will still cause lots of headaches to players of a few other teams during the rest of the matches.”

He admits that Sri Lanka’s bowling could still be their downfall.

“Apart from Lasith Malinga, who is slowly reaching his best level of ­performance, Sri Lanka does not have enough quality bowlers — especially now that Rangana Herath is recovering from an injury,” said Muralitharan.

“We have to select an additional ­specialist bowler because it’s too much to ask from any team’s batsmen to score more than 300 game after game — irrespective of how good they are.”

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