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Mendis on top of world

Barry Wilkinson in Sri Lanka

Mendis on top of world

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HAMBANTOTA – Sri Lanka provided entertainment to herald the start of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup with an annihilation of Zimbabwe before a massive crowd last night.
Ajantha Mendis marked his return to the national side by taking the best figures in Twenty20 internationals.
Mendis simply bamboozled the hapless Zimbabweans with his off-spin. His figures of 4-2-8-6 limited the visitors, who won the toss, to 100, after Sri Lanka had raced to 182 for five in their 20 overs.
If it wasn’t Ajantha, it was Jeevan Mendis, with his leg spin, who tormented the Africans as they lost by 82 runs.
Jeevan was the main actor in a 94-run, fourth-wicket stand with Kumar Sangakkara and then he too, returned with the ball to take three wickets, crowning a fantastic all-round performance. Many thought the Man-of-the-Match could’ve been shared, but Ajantha copped the award.
From the very first ball, Zimbabwe were off target. A juicy full toss off Kyle Jarvis was spanked through the covers by debutant Eldina Munaweera who put on 63 runs in 6.3 overs with Tillakaratne Dilshan.
When Munaweera was run out for 17, Dilshan raced to 39 and left the majority of the work for left-handers Sangakkara and Jeevan.
And they did not disappoint, with Jeevan making 43 not out from 41 balls and Sangakarra topscoring with 44 from 48.
All of the Zimbabwe bowlers were expensive on a lightning fast outfield.
The batting did not click either, despite an encouraging start by Hamilton Masakadza and Visu Sibanda.
“It was a horrible performance, to be blatantly honest,” said Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor.
“Sri Lanka played like champions and if they continue like this they will win the tournament. We’ve got to bounce back . . . . We are better than this.”
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was over the moon.
“It’s just the start we wanted,” he said.