Ajantha Mendis produced extraordinary bowling figures of six for eight to lead Sri Lanka to a crushing 82-run win over Zimbabwe in the opening Twenty20 World Cup match on Tuesday.
Ajantha Mendis celebrates after he dismissed Zimbabwe's cricketer Prosper Utseya during the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota. (AFP Photo/Ishara S.Kodikara)
Mendis, returning to the side following injury, took two wickets in his first over went on to surpass his
own record of figures six for 16 against Australia in 2011.
He was playing his first Twenty20 match in nine months. Mendis’s name sake Jeevan Mendis took three for 24 as both spinners bamboozled the Zimbabweans who were skittled for just 100 in the Group C match.
Sri Lanka, put into bat, were powered to their total of 182 for four by a 94-run fourth-wicket stand off 51 balls between Kumar Sangakkara and Jeevan Mendis.
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.