Sri Lanka 182-4 (20 overs) beat Zimbabwe (100 all out after 17.3 overs) by 82 runs
ZIMBABWE suffered an 82-run defeat to hosts Sri Lanka in their opening Group C match of the T20 World Cup at the Mahinda Rajapaska Stadium on Tuesday.
It was Zimbabwe’s 13th straight defeat in T20 internationals, and skipper Brendan Taylor suggested their worst showing too.
Taylor, who went out for a duck, said: “It’s a tough pill to swallow. We are a far better side than the way we performed today. It’s tough.
“Credit goes to Sri Lanka, they showed why they are probably a team that’s favourite to win the World Cup but we’ve to bounce back strongly.”
Taylor said Zimbabweans had to sort themselves out before they face South Africa – the third team in the group – on Thursday.
“We’ve all played enough cricket to go away from today and rethink, have a good look in the mirror and come back tomorrow and start training,” Taylor said. “We don’t have a lot of time until Thursday. We can’t get any worse I think, so we’re looking forward to Thursday.”
Spinner Ajantha Mendis took a record six wickets for just eight runs as Zimbabwe wilted.
Mendis, 27, marked his international return after an eight-month injury lay-off with the devastating haul to wreck Zimbabwe for 100 in 17.3 overs.
Zimbabwe could never cope with Mendis's unreadable deliveries and they collapsed like a pack of cards in pursuit of the daunting target of 183 set by the Sri Lankans.
Sri Lanka, who lost the toss and were sent into bat, owed their total of 182-4 to Kumar Sangakkara (44) and Jeevan Mendis (43 not out), who shared a 94-run stand for the fourth wicket.
"It's tough paying 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."
Ajantha Mendis struck two blows in his first over, removing Vusi Sibanda (11) and Taylor (0) off successive deliveries. He next had Zimbabwe's top-scorer Hamilton Masakadza (20).
He returned for his second spell and took four more wickets to end any lingering Zimbabwean hopes -- and improve his own international Twenty20 record figures of 6-16, set against Australia at Pallekele last year.
Sangakkara, the newly crowned ICC player of the year, hit a 26-ball 44, studded with a six and two boundaries, while Jeevan Mendis smashed four boundaries and a six during his unbeaten 43 off 30 balls.
Both the left-handers lifted Sri Lanka from 82-3 after they were put into bat.
Tillakaratne Dilshan hit five boundaries during his rapid 39 before he fell caught behind by Taylor off leg-spinner Graeme Cremer. Jayawardene was run out for 13 while debutant Dilshan Munaweera made 17.
Twelve teams competing in the event are divided in four groups, with the top two teams advancing to the Super Eight stage, which will decide the four semi-finalists.