Sri Lanka produced a clinical display to snuff out first round tournament shockers Ireland by 9 wickets at Hobart to launch their day-night Super 12 challenge of the T20 World Cup on a high going 2 points up and a fantastic run rate of 2.467.
In emphatic body language of the ominous to upping their game in the decisive harsh grind of the Super 12 from a mediocre start to their world cup campaign, the Lankans roared true to their Lions adage on a tall 133 for 1 off 15 overs in overhauling Ireland’s 128 for 8 off 20 with opening batsman Kusal Mendis firing his second successive Player of the Match knock in a 43-ball unbeaten 68 pounding 3 sixes and 5 boundaries. It was a gale force demolition of Ireland, who had knocked out the West Indies from the first round by 9 wickets. It started from the very first ball after Ireland had opted to bat when fast bowler Lahiru Kumara burst through the defence of Balberive deceiving him to playing uppishly to rattle his stumps. The Irish were so corralled they never recovered but for the 47-run fifth-wicket alliance between Harry Tector and George Dockrell in lifting the side from 4 for 60 by the halfway mark. But that was the only respite the Irish were to get as the Lankan spin duo of Maheesh Theekshana 2 for 19 and Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2 for 25 put the screws on a threatening Ireland batting line up that had put muscle on the minnows growing reputation to journeying through to the mega tournament. Tector was their only worthwhile scorer with 45 off 47, and George Dockrell the next best 14 with only three basemen entering double figures.
Dhananjaya de Silva, who opened the Lankan innings with Mendis, was all solid stroking 31 off 25 as the pair put Sri Lanka within sight of victory posting 63 off 9 overs. He hit 2 boundaries and a six with Charith Asalanka taking over from where he left scoring 31 off 25 smashing a six and 2,boundaries. On the other end Mendis sealed it for Sri Lanka with his second six off the final delivery of the 15th over.