Sri Lanka started their World Twenty20 campaign in convincing fashion, spinning a clueless Zimbabwe out of the game by 82 runs here Tuesday. Off-spinner Ajantha Mendis took six wickets for eight runs, the best figures in T20 Internationals.
Zimbabwe’s decision of putting Sri Lanka in backfired as the hosts went on to make 182 for four with the bulk of the runs coming from Kumar Sangakkara (44)and Jeevan Mendis (43 not out). The visitors then looked rattled against the Sri Lankan spinners, folding up with 100 all out in 17.3 overs.
The Zimbabwe batsmen were most troubled by the guile of finger-spinner Mendis, who produced a lethal spell in his first international game since January.
With the stupendous effort, Mendis bettered his own record of the best figures in this format. He had taken six for 16 against Australia at Pallekele last year.
The off-spinner meant business straight away, using his trademark carom ball to remove opener Vusi Sibanda (11) and opposition skipper Brendan Taylor (0) in his first over. He bowled Hamiton Masakadza (20) with a googly in his next over to leave Zimbabwe reeling at 43 for three.
Jeevan Mendis (3-24) then struck twice in six balls with his leg-breaks to make it 58 for five. Now with 125 runs required off 55 balls, it was game over for the Zimbabweans.
Earlier, Sangakkara and Jeevan Mendis shared a blistering 94-run stand while Tillakaratne Dilshan made 39 at the top. The last 100 runs of Sri Lanka’s innings came off 50 balls.