Reuters) - Lasith Malinga turned into a one-man hit squad as he became the first man to pick up two World Cup hat-tricks to lead Sri Lanka to a crushing nine-wicket victory over Kenya on Tuesday.
Malinga, who missed his side’s opening two matches with a sore back, fired back with the wickets of Tanmay Mishra (0), Peter Ongondo (0) and Shem Ngoche (0) with successive, full deliveries, the latter two clean bowled.
After finishing with a career best six for 38 to dismiss the Africans for 142, a relaxed Malinga sat back in the pavilion and watched his team mates chase down the score in just 18.4 overs.
In 2007, Malinga grabbed four in a row against South Africa.
It is the second hat-trick in two days at the World Cup after Kemar Roach took the last three Dutch wickets in West Indies’ 215-run victory in Group B on Monday.
Kenya crumbled from a respectable 102-2 to 142 all out in 43.4 overs after choosing to bat first, with the Obuya brothers the only batsmen to reach double figures.
A 94-run partnership between Collins Obuya (52 off 100 balls) and his elder sibling David (51 off 106 balls) raised hopes that Kenya might cross the 200-run mark but Malinga turned into a one-man hit-squad.
He got rid of Collins with a toe crushing yorker in the 32nd over before returning for his final spell to flatten the Kenyans with breathtaking pace as he bagged four wickets in five legal balls.
Malinga trapped Mishra lbw with the final delivery of his seventh over and then returned to knock over the stumps of Ongondo and Ngoche with the first two balls of his next over.
Sri Lankan fans were already dancing in the stands to celebrate the achievement and when Malinga grounded Elijah Otieno’s leg stump to grab his sixth victim of the day, a deafening roar reverberated around the R Premadasa Stadium.
Malinga could only shake his mass of blond-tinted hair in disbelief as he looked up to the arena’s giant scoreboard which displayed a sign reading 6-38 underneath a picture of the man of the moment.
Once Malinga has played his part, Sri Lanka knocked the runs off the runs in double quick time, with Tillakaratne Dilshan the only man to fall for 44.
Upul Tharanga ended the match with a boundary struck over cover to remain unbeaten on 67 scored off 59 balls with 12 fours. Kumar Sangakkara was 27 not out.
This was Sri Lanka’s second win out of three matches in Group A, while Kenya slumped to their third successive defeat.