HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka (AP):
Finger-spinner Ajantha Mendis broke his own record for the best bowling figures in cricket's shortest format yesterday, taking 6-8 to lead Sri Lanka to an 82-run win over Zimbabwe in the World Twenty20 opening match.
Mendis surpassed his previous mark of 6-16 against Australia last year with his miserly four-over spell, helping bowl out Zimbabwe for 100 in 17.3 overs after Sri Lanka had totalled 182-4.
The performance by Mendis was particularly remarkable for being his first international after an eight-month layoff because of a back injury.
Namesake Jeevan Mendis claimed 3-24 to add to his 43 not out. Kumar Sangakkara top-scored for Sri Lanka with 44, while Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 39.
"It's tough paying a team like Zimbabwe," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said. "You can't take anything for granted (and) we had to make sure we played to our potential."
Zimbabwe's batsmen looked like novices against the genius of Ajantha Mendis, who bowled two maidens.
Zimbabwe's slide began in Mendis' first over: Visu Sibanda played down the wrong line and was clean bowled and captain Brendan Taylor was smartly stumped by Sangakkara next ball.
In his next over, Mendis bowled Hamilton Masakadza for 20 before Jeevan Mendis made it 5-58 by removing Craig Ervine and Malcolm Waller cheaply from the other end.
Ajantha Mendis returned to clean up the tail by again claiming two wickets in one over. Lasith Malinga finished off Zimbabwe when Chris Mpofu became the fourth batsman to be dismissed without scoring.
"It is a tough pill to swallow," Taylor said. "We are a far better side than what we showed, (but) credit goes to Sri Lanka. They showed why they are one of the favourites to win the tournament."
Earlier, Sangakkara put on 94 runs for the fourth wicket with Jeevan Mendis from 51 balls after Taylor won the toss and put Sri Lanka in to bat.
Dilshan and debutant Dil-shan Munaweera (17) laid a solid platform of 54 for the opening wicket before Zim-babwe hit back with a couple of run-outs and Dilshan was caught behind.
Sangakkara lifted the tempo with his aggressive running between the wickets with Mendis before he was run out in the last over.
South Africa is the other team in Group D and will meet Zimbabwe tomorrow.
The top two teams from the group advance to the Super Eights in the 12-team competition.
|Dilshan Munaweera run out||17|
|Tillakaratne Dilshan c Taylor b Cremer||39|
|Mahela Jayawardene run out||13|
|Kumar Sangakkara run out||44|
|Jeevan Mendis not out||43|
|Thisara Perera not out||6|
|Extras: (4b, 6lb, 3nb, 7w)||20|
|TOTAL: (for four wickets)||182|
Fall of wickets: 1-54, 2-75, 3-82, 4-176.
Did not bat: Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga.
Bowling: Kyle Jarvis 4-0-31-0 (1nb, 1w), Brian Vitori 3-0-27-0 (1nb, 3w), Prosper Utseya 4-0-25-0 (2w), Chris Mpofu 4-0-49-0, Graeme Cremer 4-0-27-1 (1nb), Elton Chigumbura 1-0-13-0 (1w).
|Hamilton Masakadza b Ajantha Mendis||20|
|Vusi Sibanda b Ajantha Mendis||11|
|Brendan Taylor st Sangakkara b Ajantha Mendis||0|
|Elton Chigumbura b Ajantha Mendis||19|
|Craig Ervine st Sangakkara b Jeevan Mendis||10|
|Malcolm Waller lbw b Jeevan Mendis||0|
|Graeme Cremer b Jeevan Mendis||17|
|Prosper Utseya c Jayawardene b Ajantha Mendis||1|
|Kyle Jarvis lbw b Ajantha Mendis||0|
|Brian Vitori not out||7|
|Chris Mpofu c sub (Chandimal) b Malinga||0|
Extras: (9lb, 6w) 15
TOTAL: (all out) 100
Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-37, 3-43, 4-58, 5-58, 6-80, 7-87, 8-87, 9-93.
Bowling: Nuwan Kulasekara 3-0-16-0 (1w), Lasith Malinga 2.3-0-20-1, Ajantha Mendis 4-2-8-6, Angelo Mathews 2-0-7-0 (1w), Thisara Perera 2-0-16-0, Jeevan Mendis 4-0-24-3 (4w).
Result: Sri Lanka won by 82 runs.
Toss: won by Zimbabwe.
Umpires: Ian Gould, England, and Rod Tucker, Australia.
TV Umpire: Richard Kettleborough, England. Match Referee: Jeff Crowe, New Zealand.