Over the next 19 days, I will post daily blogs about the progress of the World Twenty 20 tournament in Sri Lanka. The competition got under way this afternoon, with the hosts playing against former Surrey coach Alan Butcher’s Zimbabwe. Here is how that game panned out.
Mendis spins Sri Lanka to easy victory
18/9/12- Sri Lanka 182-4 20 overs (Sangakarra 44) beat Zimbabwe 100 all out 17.3 overs (A Mendis 6-8) by 82 runs @ Hambantota
At one of the newest grounds in International cricket in Hambantota, Brendan Taylor won the toss for Zimbabwe and elected to field first. An international debut was given to Sri Lankan opener Dilshan Munaweera, and a T20I debut to Zimbabwe’s Brian Vitori. Even though there was a boundary off the first ball of the match, it wasn’t an electric start by Sri Lanka, but they were helped by Zimbabwe, when Waller put Munaweera down twice inside the powerplay.
Zimbabwe had their man in the 7th over though, when Munaweera dropped his bat, and was run out in comical fashion as he tried to return to the crease. Jayawardene then had some luck of his own, when he was given out LBW, but with further inspection Graeme Cremer had bowled a back-foot no ball. But Cremer put that aside and had Dilshan caught behind 3 balls later for a 28 ball 39. But Jayawardene was then run out in Cremer’s next over, as Zimbabwe started to pull things back a touch.
However, Sangakarra was still at the crease and a slog sweep from Jeevan Mendis brought up the 100 in the 14th over. Mendis was starting to fire as he hit the first six of the tournament, with a wonderful pick up off his legs, as the hosts looked to post an imposing total.
Sri Lanka reached 182-4 off their 20 overs, with Sangakarra top scoring with 44 before being the 3rd run out of the innings in the final over. A good, if not scintillating, performance from the hosts with the bat, but some woeful fielding and wayward bowling from Zimbabwe helped them considerably.
Zimbabwe never really got going and the mystery spin of Ajantha Mendis made an immediate impact, bowling Sibanda for a painstaking 11, and then had the skipper Brendon Taylor stumped first ball. Mendis couldn’t complete his hat trick, but he was looking in ominous form as he bowled Masakadza for 20 in his next over. Jeevan Mendis then removed Ervine and Waller in the same over to restrict Zimbabwe to 58-5 and they were really struggling when Ajantha was brought back on, as he bowled Chigumbura, before having Utseya caught at slip for his 5th wicket. And there was still time for him to pick up his 6th, finishing with figures of 6-8 off his 4 overs, the best figures in World T20 tournaments.
Jeevan Mendis picked up his 3rd before Malinga finished off the innings, and Sri Lanka had won by 82 runs. A very professional performance from the host nation, but Zimbabwe were poor. They fielded dreadfully throughout the Sri Lankan innings, and couldn’t cope with the spin of the Mendis’. Both teams can still improve, and if Sri Lanka do, they would be serious contenders for the trophy.
Man of the Match- Ajantha Mendis for his 6 wickets for 8 runs. His spell included two maidens and was a pleasure to watch. The mystery may have been worked out by some teams, but certainly not Zimbabwe.