Sri Lanka’s conscious efforts to not to be complacent paid them with a victory by 86 runs as Zimbabweans were bamboozled by the two ‘Mendises’, Ajantha and Jeevan in the inaugural match of ICC T20 World Cup at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota on Tuesday.
Zimbabweans were required to score 183 runs to register win but they were bundled out for exactly 100 runs. Sri Lanka would face South Africa in their next match on the 22nd of this month.
Man of the match Ajantha Mendis, who is now the highest wicket taker Sri Lankan T20 cricket, took six wickets for just eight runs in his four overs (Mendis’s figure 4-2-6-8 is an amazing one in any format, T20 is definitely special.) meaning he spent only two runs per over. Jeevan Mendis allied well with the senior Mendis taking three wickets in his four overs giving just 24 runs.
Ajantha Mendis was playing after nine months and naturally was quite happy with his performance. He said after the match that he would try his best in the coming matches. Once famous for his ‘carom ball’, Mendis was a bit off colour in last two seasons. But with his superb performance every team would think of strategy to counter him.
Jeevan Mendi’s contribution was double fold as he scored valuable 43 runs in just 30 balls hitting one six and four fours. Kumar Sangakkara schemed his innings well without being too airy and scored a quick fire 44 runs in 26 balls with the help of one six and two fours.
Sri Lanka scored 182 runs in 20 overs losing four wickets but only one wicket was taken by the Zimbabwe bowler as Tileratne Dilshan was caught by Taylor off the bowling of Cremer. Rest of three Dilshan Munaweera, Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara were run out.
Zimbabwe won the tossed but lost in all departments after deciding to field first. The target of 183 runs was never going to be easy for Zimbabwe but they faltered after a somewhat steady start. They lost their first wicket in the sixth over when the score was 37 runs. Then the slide started. Five of their batsmen got into the tens but only one can reach 20. Four of them were out for a duck.
Zimbabwe lost their last five wickets for just 20 runs as the last remaining wicket was mopped up Lasith Malinga.
It might look easy with the margin of victory but Sri Lankan skipper still said that it was tough playing a team like Zimbabwe as one cannot get anything for granted.
One the other hand Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor was quite unhappy with his team performance saying that it was a tough pill to swallow. He thought that Zimbabwe is a far better side than what they showed.