Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by 82 runs in the opening match of the T20 World Cup in Hambantota a short while ago. Chasing a massive 183, Zimbabwe were bundled out for 100, conceding an easy victory to the hosts.
After Sri Lanka piled up 182/4, Zimbabwe got off to a slow start as openers took the score past 30 in six overs.
Ajantha Mednis then Vusi trapped Sibanda (11) leg before wickets before getting skipper Brendon Taylor stumped for a duck to leave Zimbabwe struggling at 37/2 after six overs.
Before Zimbabwe could recover from the double blow, Mendis struck again in his next over to scalp Hamilton.
Jeevan Mendis then spun magic with quick wickets of Craig Ervine and Malcom Waller that reduced Zimbabwe to 58/5.
Zimbabwe tail could not stay longer and succumbed to Mendis’s spin.
Earlier, 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.
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.