Sri Lanka crush Zimbabwe in T20 opener
Sri Lanka cruised to an 82-run win over Zimbabwe in the opening match, with Jeevan and Ajantha Mendis in starring roles.
Sri Lanka's hosting of this year's edition of the World Twenty20 got off to a superb start in Hambantota, as they cruised to an 82-run win over Zimbabwe in the opening match, with Jeevan and Ajantha Mendis in starring roles.
The home side were put in to bat and made a cracking 182 for four in their 20 overs, with Jeevan Mendis making 43 not out off 30 balls to push the total past Zim's capabilities.
The minnows then could only score 100 all out as Ajantha took a massive six wickets for eight runs in his four overs, the best figures in a T20. There were still 15 balls remaining as the sides departed the windy field.
It wasn't a classic game in terms of all-round cricket, with the fielding from both sides leaving much to be desired. Zimbabwe dropped two catches and let a number of balls reach the ropes, not to mention their legion of wides and other extras adding to the Lankan score.
Sri Lanka's innings was an hour-glass in terms of runs, with the beginning and the end providing the bulk, as Zim took three wickets in the middle overs and slowed the run rate. The opening partnership between Dilshan Munaweera and Tillakaratne Dilshan garnered 54 runs before the former was run out after dropping his bat.
Dilshan went on to make 39, while Munaweera and Mahela Jayawardene added 17 and 13 respectively. It was the partnership between Jeevan and Kumar Sangakkara (44) that was the highlight though, as they added 94 in sparkling fashion before Sanga was run out in the final over.
While Zim's openers made a good go of it initially, already requiring over nine runs to the over, Ajantha soon ripped the heart out of the innings. He clean bowled Vusi Sibanda with the score on 37, before going onto a hat-trick by getting Brendan Taylor stumped next ball.
He then picked up his third wicket in seven balls by bowling Hamilton Masakadza as Zim reeled at 43 for three. Jeevan then came in and bagged some scalps of his own, getting Craig Ervine stumped before trapping Malcolm Waller LBW in the same over.
Ajantha then added three more wickets to his collection, as he now has the top two spots for best figures in a T20 innings, but getting rid of Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya and Kyle Jarvis in quick succession.
Jeevan then got a third wicket to leave Zim on 93 for nine after 17 overs. The final wicket fell to Malinga, preventing a Mendis clean sweep, with the score on 100 on the dot. Both sides now look forward to facing South Africa in their next group games.
Sri Lanka: Dilshan Munaweera, Tillekrartne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga
Zimbabwe team: Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori, Chris Mpofu