Sangakkara calls the tune
Sri Lanka went top of World Cup Group A courtesy of a 112-run win over New Zealand in Mumbai.
Both sides were assured of a quarter-final berth before this game but it is the co-hosts, today playing away from home at the Wankhede Stadium, who will carry momentum into the knockout stages.
Sri Lanka were mainly indebted to a century from captain Kumar Sangakkara, whose 111 carried them to a total of 265 for nine from 50 overs after he chose to bat first.
Sangakkara shared a 145-run alliance with Mahela Jayawardene that helped Sri Lanka recover from the early loss of their openers. Jayawardene, with 66, and Angelo Mathews, with 41 not out from 35 balls, were the only other members of the side to reach double figures.
However, New Zealand suffered a different problem with six of their batsmen getting into double digits but none bettering Ross Taylor's 33.
Muttiah Muralitharan did the bulk of the damage, taking 4-25 from eight overs despite an obvious hamstring injury - sustained while diving in vain to avoid being run-out - as New Zealand were dismissed for 153 with 15 overs unused.
"Murali is a legend. On one leg, he bowled so well," Sangakkara said of the veteran spinner, who retires at the end of the tournament.
"We have a few days before the next game, and we hope he will be fully fit for the quarter-finals. We want to make sure he enjoys himself, and we want him to bowl and take wickets."
Earlier, Tim Southee picked up three wickets for New Zealand, but their attack was depleted after Hamish Bennett twisted his ankle while bowling his fifth over.
Southee inadvertently ran out Upal Tharanga in his follow-through and deceived Tillakaratne Dilshan into a leading edge that flew to third man to reduce Sri Lanka to 19 for two.
Sangakkara and Jayawardene rebuilt although the latter was reprieved on 24, when off-spinner Nathan McCullum's return ‘catch’ was ruled not out by umpire Asad Rauf after consultation with his colleagues - despite replays appearing to show in favour of the bowler.
Both batsmen got bogged down during the early part of their innings and took over 70 balls to reach their half-centuries, but they ushered Sri Lanka past 150 by the 35th over.
Southee trapped Jayawardene in front in the first over of the batting powerplay but Sangakkara soon moved past 9,000 one-day international runs en route to his 11th ODI ton.
McCullum cleaned up Sangakkara, who struck 12 fours and two sixes, in the 42nd over and Sri Lanka lost five quick wickets during a quest for runs in which only Mathews succeeded.
Scott Styris had Thilan Samaraweera caught behind, Chamara Silva was caught and bowled by McCullum, Nuwan Kulasekara holed out to deep midwicket off Southee, Lasith Malinga top-edged Jacob Oram behind and Muralitharan was run out by superb work from Martin Guptill at long-on.
In reply, New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals as half the side was back in the pavilion inside 22 overs.
Ajantha Mendis provided the breakthrough in the seventh by removing Brendon McCullum, who was caught brilliantly at slip by Jayawardene.
Nuwan Kulasekara trapped Guptill lbw in the next over before Taylor and Jesse Ryder attempted to keep New Zealand afloat.
They added 49 but Mendis struck again to have Ryder caught behind and lay the platform for Muralitharan to wreak havoc.
He took a wicket in each of his next three overs to leave the Black Caps tottering on 102 for six after 24. Kane Williamson was stumped, Taylor trapped in front for 33 and Styris caught and bowled.
The procession continued when Dilshan had Nathan McCullum, driving, superbly caught at slip by Jayawardene and Muralitharan had James Franklin, pushing forward, held at short extra-cover for 20.
Mendis picked up his third wicket with Southee lbw before Lasith Malinga cleaned up last man Bennett, leaving Oram stranded on 20.
Taylor, captaining the side in the continued absence of Daniel Vettori, said: "We came with hopes of taking momentum into the quarter-finals, but Kumar Sangakkara played us out of the game.
"We were with the rate the whole way, but Murali bowled really well and we kept losing wickets."