Ajantha Mendis bettered his own T20 record by taking six wickets for just eight runs as Sri Lanka walloped minnows Zimbabwe by 82 runs in the opening match of the World Twenty20 cricket tournament.
Sri Lanka recovered from a slow start to post a huge 182 for four and then bundled out Zimbabwe for 100 in 17.3 overs in the Group C match at the Mahinda Rajapakse stadium.
The Zimbabweans struggled to handle spin and were bamboozled by Ajantha (6/8) and Jeevan Mendis (3/24), who shared nine wickets between them. Ajantha's figures were best in Twenty20 cricket as he improved on his own early figures of six for 16 which he had claimed against Australia, last year.
The hosts owed their impressive total to Kumar Sangakkara (44) and Jeevan as the two left-handers put on a 94-run stand for the fourth wicket. Sri Lanka were 107 for three in 14 overs but Sangakkara and Jeevan took the game away from the minnows with their superb batting. Zimbabwe had done well in the early part of the Lankan innings but leaked 75 runs in the last six overs to let go the advantage.
The total proved too big to manage for Zimbabwe against an experienced bowling line-up. Ajantha was too hot to handle as he conceded just eight runs in his four overs and two of them maiden. The Zimbabweans could manage just five boundaries in the first 10 overs, three of them coming from the bat of Hamilton Maskadaza (20), who was top scorer for them.
Ajantha struck twice in two balls in the sixth over as he first rattled the stumps of Vusi Sibanda (11) and then had skipper Brendan Taylor stumped in the next ball. Maskadaza was batting confidently and had even dispatched dangerous Lasith Malinga twice to the boundary line but he also failed to pick Ajantha and became his third victim.
Jeevan after contributing with the bat, struck twice in his first over as he scalped Criag Ervin (10) and Malcolm Waller, who went without troubling the scorer. At 58 for five in 11 overs, Zimbabwe's chase was in disarray and it was matter of time when the Lanakans would complete the thumping win.
Some will roll their eyes at the thought of another India v Sri Lanka ODI contest, but for the two teams set to clash on Thursday in Cardiff the second semi-final of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy is a huge game.
England eased into the Champions Trophy final after finishing off South Africa in a semifinal at The Oval on Wednesday.
Neymar made the difference for Brazil, scoring in the ninth minute and making one for Jo to give the hosts a 2-0 win over Mexico.
RR player Siddharth Trivedi has admitted to have taken money from bookies.
Indian tennis star Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek were today seeded fourth in the men's doubles event of the Wimbledon championships, starting on Monday.
As India take on Sri Lanka - a team they have played the most in the last five years in the ODI format of the game - in the Champions Trophy semi-finals, we look back at the best and the most memorable contests that the two Asian giants have had over the
Manchester United will begin the defense of its Premier League title under new manager David Moyes with an away match at Swansea.