T20 WC: Sri Lanka rout Zimbabwe by 82 runs in Hambantota
Mysterious Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis struck thrice to dent Zimbabwe chase against Sri Lanka in the opening match of Twenty20 World Cup played at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota on Tuesday.
First to go was Vusi Sibanda, he scored 11 runs off 16 balls before getting bowled out on the third ball of the sixth over.
On the very next ball skipper Brendan Taylor was caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara for a duck.
Later in the eighth over Hamilton Masakadza was bowled out after scoring 20 runs off 23 balls.
Kumar Sangakkara and Jeevan Mendis put on a 94-run stand as Sri Lanka recovered from a
slow start to post a challenging 182 for four against Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe had done well in the early part of the Lankan innings but leaked 75 runs in the last six overs to let go the advantage.
Sri Lanka were 107 for three in 14 overs but Sangakkara (44) and Mendis, who scored an unbeaten 43, took the game away from the minnows.
Three of the four wickets that fell in the Lankan innings were run outs as spinner Greame Cremer (1/27) was the lone bowler for Zimbabwe to make an impression.
Poor fielding also added to the woes of the Zimbabweans. They gave away 20 extras, including seven wides.
Sangakkara's 44 runs came off 26 balls with two fours and a six while Mendis's took 30 balls for his knock and helped himself with five boundaries, including a six.
Zimbabwe pacers Kyle Jarvis and Brian Vitori had provided the side a good start, not letting the Lankan openers score freely and also created half chances.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (39), who likes to score on the off side, was not given many deliveries in his favourite area.
But somehow Zimbabweans could not capitalise on that. They had bowled six wides inside first five overs, which meant that they had bowled an extra over apart from giving six extra runs to the rivals.
Adding to that, they did not take even simple catches like the one offered by debutante Dilshan Munaweera off Chris Mpofu. Malcolm Waller failed to latch on to a low catch.
The two Dilshans then reeled off three boundaries in that over, taking 15 runs. Munaweera's innings ended in a run out when he lost his bat while attempting a single and failed to get back to the crease in time.
Cremer started to trouble the Lankans right from the start and had even trapped Mahela Jayawardene (13) but that ball was called a no-ball for breach of side crease.
However, the spinner succeeded in removing Dilshan by having him caught behind two balls later. Sri Lanka lost skipper through a run out in a mix up with Kumar Sangakkara.
Lanka's 100 came in the 14th over when Mendis swept a Cremer delivery to leg side boundary. Mendis pushed the accelerator button on, hitting a six and a four off Elton Chugumbura. Sangakkara and Mendis kept moving the scoreboard although they did not score many boundaries.
Two of the three sixes in Lankan innings came in the last over - one was hit Sangakkara just before getting run out and one by Thisara Perera.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (C), Dilshan Munaweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (C), Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Craige Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Greame Cremer, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori and Chris Mpofu.