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Lankans showed lot of character - Murali

MUMBAI, Saturday - Champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said that Sri Lanka showed a lot of character in fashioning a convincing seven wicket victory over New Zealand in their International Cricket Council Champions Trophy Mini World Cup Group ‘B’ fixture played at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.

Muralitharan returned excellent figures of 4 for 23 as Sri Lanka kept their hopes alive of qualifying for the semifinals which are scheduled for November 1 and 2 respectively. His best delivery in the match of course the one that he dismissed Jacob Oram.
“There have been many dismissals like that”, said Muralitharan when asked if he remembered similar incidents. He said that he has bowled on similar pitches while playing county cricket for Lancashire.

Muralitharan said that he relinquished bowling at the Brabourne Stadium wicket which has predominately helped the spinners in the past few years. “The ball was spinning a lot. The bounce was at times quick and some of the deliveries also kept very low”.

In fact the Kiwis were bundled out for just 165 runs and the Sri Lankans notched up the required runs with seven wickets and 14 overs to spare. Muralitharan also became the leading wicket taker in the history of the ICC Champions Trophy overhauling West Indian Mervyn Dillon’s 19 wickets in seven matches.

Muralitharan now has a tally of 22 wickets and considering his present form and the conditions he is certain to add more to his tally as the tournament progresses.

Meanwhile a dejected New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said that his team paid the penalty for the lack of partnerships. “To put on a good score you need some good partnerships. But we did not have any”. He also said that the conditions were tailor made for Muralitharan and he delivered the goods.

“Murali is arguably the best bowler in both forms of the game. He proved that he can do it in any conditions,” said Fleming. “If their fast bowlers get wickets early on it places a lot of pressure on any team’s middle order. If Vaas and the other fast bowlers do well early on Murali’s going to pick up three or four wickets regularly and be a handful.”

Meanwhile ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed will announce the shortlists for this year’s International Cricket Council Awards in Mumbai today (Sunday).

The short-lists for seven individual awards and the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award will be revealed at the Cricket Club of India. The short-lists for the men’s awards have been compiled after votes were submitted by members of the 56-member voting academy.

The short-list for the Women’s Cricketer of the Year has been compiled after votes were submitted by the twelve-member voting academy of leading figures in the women’s game.

The ICC Awards will take place this year at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai on November 3. The ICC Awards ceremony is now in its third year and this will be the first time it has been staged in India. Previous ceremonies were held in London (2004) and Sydney (2005).

ICC Awards 2006 - Long List of Nominees

Individual Awards:

Test Player: Michael Hussey (Aus), Ricky Ponting (Aus), Mohammed Yousuf (Pak), Andrew Flintoff (Eng), Shane Warne (Aus), Muttiah Muralidaran (SL), Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Rahul Dravid (Ind), Mahela Jayawardene (SL), Kevin Pietersen (Eng), Younis Khan (Pak), Matthew Hayden (Aus), Makhaya Ntini (SA).

One Day International Player: Yuvraj Singh (Ind), Michael Hussey (Aus), Ricky Ponting (Aus), Shane Bond (NZ), Irfan Pathan (Ind), Andrew Flintoff (Eng), Mahela Jayawardene (SL), Muttiah Muralidaran (SL), Rahul Dravid (Ind), Kevin Pietersen (Eng), Mohammed Yousuf (Pak), Herschelle Gibbs (SA), Brett Lee (Aus), Shahid Afridi (Pak), Inzamam ul Haq (Pak), Adam Gilchrist (Aus), Kumar Sangakkara (SL).

Emerging Player: Monty Panesar (Eng), Alastair Cook (Eng), Denesh Ramdin (WI), Malinga Bandara (SL), Mohammed Asif (Pak), Upul Tharanga (SL), Ian Bell (Eng), Shahriar Nafees (BD).

Cricketer of the Year: Ricky Ponting (Aus), Shane Warne (Aus), Muttiah Muralitharan (SL), Michael Hussey (Aus), Andrew Flintoff (Eng), Mohammed Yousuf (Pak), Rahul Dravid (Ind), Mahela Jayawardene (SL), Younis Khan (Pak), Monty Panesar (Eng), Brett Lee (Aus), Makhaya Ntini (SA), Adam Gilchrist (Aus).

Captain of the Year: Michael Vaughan (Eng), Rahul Dravid (Ind), Ricky Ponting (Aus), Mahela Jayawardene (SL).

Umpire of the Year: Simon Taufel, Aleem Dar, Rudi Koertzen

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