Sri Lanka 4-182 (Kumar Sangakkara 44, Jeevan Mendis 43*, Graeme Cremer 1-27) beat Zimbabwe 100 (Hamilton Masakadza 20, Elton Chigumbura 19, Ajantha Mendis 6-8) by 82 runs.
Ajantha Mendis crushed the batting line up of Zimbabwe single-handedly in the curtain raiser of the ICC World Twenty 20 as Sri Lanka won the match comfortably.
Sri Lanka hammered 182 runs for the loss of just four wickets in the allocated 20 overs and the innings of Zimbabwe was folded back on exactly 100 runs with 15 balls to spare.
Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his historical bowling spell. He grabbed 6 wickets for 8 mere runs in the allotted 4 overs that was the best bowling figures for a bowler in the shortest version of the game and he is the only bowler who has clinched five wickets twice in T20.
The opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 was played on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.
Earlier, the captain of Zimbabwe, Brendan Taylor, won the toss and offered the batting to Sri Lanka. The innings was opened by Dilshan Munaweera and Tillakaratne Dilshan in a responsive manner as the first five overs resulted in 38 runs. Munaweera was dropped at 13 on the second ball of the next over by Malcolm Walker at deep midwicket off Chris Mpofu. Dilshan scored two fours on the next consecutive balls and Munaweera added one four on the last ball of the over.
Dilshan Mpofu was run out in the following over for 17 after contributing 54 runs for the first wicket. Tillakaratne Dilshan became the next victim as the score reached 75 at his personal contribution of 39 off 28 balls with 5 fours. The Lankan Lions lost their third wicket at 82 in 11.3 overs when Kumar Sangakkara and Jeevan Mendis got together at the crease.
The duo picked up the run rate, the boundaries were being witnessed regularly and the first hundred of the innings was posted on board in the 14th over. Both batsmen associated a 94 runs quick fired partnership on 49 balls as Kumar Sangakkara was run out for 44 off just 26 deliveries with 1 six and 2 fours. Jeevan Mendis remained unbeaten for 43 from 30 balls which comprised 1 six and 4 fours as the Islanders piled up 182 runs with six wickets in hand at the end of the 20th over.
Graemer Cremer was the only bowler who took one wicket and three home batsmen were run out.
Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda initiated the Zimbabwe innings in a cautious manner. They collected 16 runs in the first three overs as Masakadza added 11 runs in the fourth over with a couple of fours and the score was enhanced to 37 in 5.3 overs. Ajantha Mendis struck for the Lankan Lions at that point and Vusi Sibanda was clean bowled for 11 runs. Brandan Taylor was declared leg before wicket off Ajantha Mendis on the very next ball and Hamilton Masakadza lost his wicket for 20 after the addition of six runs to the total.
That was the beginning of a disaster for the visitors and wickets started falling like ninepins without much resistance from the Zimbabwe batsmen. Elton Chigumbura and Graeme Cremer were the only notable batsmen who managed 19 and 17 runs respectively as the entire team was bowled out for 100 runs in 17.3 overs.
Ajantha Mendis was the star performer with the ball by grasping six wickets, Jeevan Mendis held three whereas Lasith Malinga claimed one wicket.
Sri Lanka won the match comprehensively by a huge margin of 82 runs and earned two vital points.