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Ajantha Mendis Inspired Sri Lanka to Big Victory

By Azharnadeem
Ajantha Mendis claimed six wickets

Ajantha Mendis celebrates Hamilton Masakadza’s dismissal

Ajantha Mendis marked his return to the competitive cricket with a record-breaking six-wicket haul as Sri Lanka crushed Zimbabwe by 82 runs in the opening ICC World Twenty20 match in Hambantota.

Ajantha Mendis, who was out of the national setup since last four months, bettered his record of best ever T20 figures, 6-16 against Australia at Pallekele, and bagged six wickets for eight runs as Zimbabwe capitulated to 100 in purist of formidable 183-run target.

Mendis’s namesake Jeevan took three for 24.

“It’s tough playing a team like Zimbabwe,” said Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene. “You can’t take anything for granted. We had to make sure we played to our potential.

“It’s a good wicket, just needed to get used to it a little bit. Our guys batted really well, and the bowlers then did a super job.”

Zimbabwe were unable to stand against ht the deadly variations of Mendises as their toppled like nine pins.

Hamilton Masakadza (20) and Vusi Sibanda (11) began the chase flamboyantly against seamers and clobbered 34 runs from five overs before Ajantha Mendis claimed two wickets in successive deliveries of his introductory over to spark a horrible collapse.

Zimbabwe failed the regain the momentum from there and continued to depart pavilion at regular intervals.

Earlier, send to bat, Sri Lanka rode on the 94-run stand between Kumar Sangakkara (44 off 26) and Jeevan (43 off 30 not out) to manage a whopping total of 182-4.

Sangakkara hit two boundaries and a six while Jeevan slammed four boundaries and a maximum.

Debutant Dilshan Munaweera (17 off 19) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (39 off 28) gave Sri Lanka a solid start, and shared a stand of 54 off 39 balls before Waller was run out for 17.

Australia will take on Ireland in Group B while India will come head to head against Afghanistan in Group A, both matches in Colombo, on Wednesday.

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