Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe commentary

Last updated: 18th September 2012  

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe commentary

Sri Lanka Win By 82 Runs That's a resounding message from the tournament hosts. Zimbabwe were totally outgunned in all departments, and certainly didn't help themselves after an abject day in the field. Jeevan Mendis and Kumar Sangakkara walloped them with the bat before Ajantha Mendis and Jeevan, again, completed the job with the ball. Tomorrow sees the Australians face Ireland and, later, Afghanistan challenge India. Catch you then.

Over 17.3 - Zim 100/10 (Vitori 7) Sri Lanka call their star pace ace back into the attack to finish the job - and he does just that as Mpofu loops and easy catch to mid-off. Game over.

Over 17 - Zim 93/9 (Mpofu 0, Vitori 0) WICKET! Cremer cleaned up by his fellow leg-spinner. He read it correctly, but it didn't turn as much as he expected, also sneaking through the gate to rattle the stumps. Mpofu is the last man in, and soon showing his ability (or lack thereof) with the bat with a weird forward-defence.

Over 16 - Zim 87/8 (Cremer 11, Vitori 0) WICKET! Utseya's lavish drive succeeds only in spooning and edge to slip, with Mendis welcoming a whopping five-wicket haul. These are the second-best figures in the history of the tournament, bettered only by Pakistan seamer Umar Gul's five for six. WICKET! Soon he has the best ever, though, trapping Jarvis dead in front of the stumps with a wrong'un. Easy lbw decision, that. He ends the match with figures of six for eight. Record-breaking. Crazy.

Over 15 - Zim 80/6 (Cremer 11, Utseya 1) Zimbabwe must, at least, bat out their full 20 overs. That will serve as a bit of consolation amid impending doom. Cremer and Utseya are fully aware of this, dropping anchor across this over from Jeevan.

Over 14 - Zim 80/6 (Cremer 7, Utseya 0) Too straight from Ajantha, whose rogue line his helped around the corner for four by Chigumbura. WICKET! Those are his last runs for the day, though, as the next delivery - straighter, sharper, faster - crashes through the gate to castle the stumps. Clever variation from Mendis, who has a four-four now. Zimbabwe crumbling. Utseya in now.

Over 13 - Zim 75/5 (Cremer 6, Chigumbura 15) Chigumbura won't go down without a fight, hoisting the leg-spin of Jeevan high and hard over midwicket for six. Cremer, meanwhile, can't pick the wrong'uns despite being a leg-spinner himself.

Over 12 - Zim 66/5 (Cremer 5, Chigumbura 8) Perera continues, and induces an edge from Cremer but it falls just short of the slip in place. The next ball is also edged, but flies to the third man boundary for four.

Over 11 - Zim 59/5 (Cremer 0, Chigumbura 7) Jeevan Mendis is on now for some leg-spin, hoping to add to his good effort with the bat. Then, Sanga does a great job behind the stumps and WICKET! Ervine must go after failing to get his foot down in time. The Mendis duo are having a great match here, as Waller comes to the middle. Heavens, so much turn! WICKET! Easy peasy decision for Rod Tucker, Wallter trapped in front for a duck while standing right back on the stumps. Cremer comes in and faces a leg-side wide first up.

Over 10 - Zim 57/3 (Ervine 10, Chigumbura 5) Mendis makes way for Thisara Perera, who is no stranger to taking wickets. The first ball beats the bat, and the second is wide and smacked with a cut but there is a man on the point boundary. Ervine hits a lovely pull off the final ball for six, while the run rate has now crept closer to 13.

Over 9 - Zim 48/3 (Ervine 3, Chigumbura 3) Yet another leg-bye adds to the Zim total as Mathews hits the pads. The risky running continues as they pair try for a second and get it, but if the bowler had collected the throw it may have been curtains. A single ends the over, down to fine leg off the pads.

Over 8 - Zim 43/3 (Ervine 0, Chigumbura 3) Mendis continues and gets another WICKET! Masakadza departs as he is bowled neatly, having scored 20 runs. There's an appeal for LBW against Craig Ervine, but a) the bowler was in the umpire's way so he couldn't see, and b) it hit the gloves. Wicket maiden!

Over 7 - Zim 43/2 (Masakadza 20, Chigumbura 3) Angelo Mathews is into the action, and Chigumbura takes a single off the first ball, before Masakadza does the same with a push past point. The all-rounder is bowling a good line though, and his pace is that tricky in-between speed that's tough to get away. They only get four runs off it, as Zimbabweans the world over grumble about the earlier stumping.

Over 6 - Zim 39/2 (Masakadza 18, Chigumbura 0) Spinner Ajantha Mendis is brought into the attack, and the Zim lads take a risky single. Then, WICKET! Sibanda is out for 11 after finding his bails scattered, beaten all ends up as the ball hits the middle stump. The skipper Brendan Taylor comes to the middle and there is immediate action, as he is stumped and they call for a replay. It's OUT, his toe is a millimetre off the ground. This leaves Mendis on a hat-trick, but Elton Chigumbura is all defence.

Over 5 - Zim 36/0 (Masakadza 17, Sibanda 11) Sibanda tries to emulate his partner, but swings and misses against Kula first ball, before edging it behind but they run for a single as Sangakkara misfields. Next ball is misfielded too, at short fine leg, so there must be something on the grass tonight because the fielding from both sides has been poor. Sibanda takes a step forward and flashes hard, getting a thick top edge that flies for four. Zim are keeping pace with where Sri Lanka were at this stage.

Over 4 - Zim 28/0 (Masakadza 17, Sibanda 4) Masakadza is letting rip now, whipping Malinga off his pads for a boundary off the first ball, this time getting it in the middle of the bat. It's easy to get a single off the next ball as the fielders are quite far out, so he pops it square. Good running gets them two off the penultimate ball, before Hamilton bashes it back over Malinga's head for four. Superb shot, and it's 11 off the over for Masakadza.

Over 3 - Zim 16/0 (Masakadza 6, Sibanda 3) Kulasekara tries for an LBW appeal, but it hits outside the line and it's half-hearted. Sibanda takes a leg-bye single as a result, before Masakadza gets off the mark with a push for a single. Once back on strike, Hamilton bashes it with brute force past Kula, not timing required, for a boundary. He ends the over with a risky single that would have sent him packing had mid-off struck the stumps.

Over 2 - Zim 8/0 (Masakadza 0, Sibanda 2) Lasith Malinga steams in and beats the bat nicely, though Sibanda manages to push it into the covers for a single. Four leg-byes come off Masakadza's hip, much to Mahela's amusement, and Hamilton is yet to get off the mark. Malinga's bowling it full and straight, looking good.

Over 1 - Zim 3/0 (Masakadza 0, Sibanda 1) A very good start for the hosts, with lots of swing for Nuwan Kulasekara. Sibanda gets a single but the other two runs comes from a wide and leg bye. The run rate is 9.47 now.

The Pursuit Batsmen Sibanda and Masakadza, umpires Gould and Tucker and the Sri Lankan head out to the middle for the resumption of play. Zimbabwe chasing a target of 183 at a rate of a little more than nine runs per over.

Sri Lanka End On 182 For Four Dilshan and Munaweera did well at the top of the knock before the spinners tied down proceedings for a brief period. Mendis later added some spunk to the Sri Lankan middle order, with Sangakkara along for the ride. Zimbabwe dropped two catches, missed a couple of run-outs, let through a string of overthrows and were guilty of a handful of misfields. They won't be happy with their day in the field, but will back their batsman to triumph regardless. Stick around for the chase, it should be a cracker. Meanwhile, your thoughts on proceedings so far welcome at:

Over 20 - SL 182/4 (Jeevan 43, Perera 6) Back-to-back blockhole deliveries from Mpofu, who later has the third hoisted over square-leg for the second six of the match by Sangakkara. The left-hander really got under that one, using the depths of his crease to great effect. WICKET! He then runs himself out, though, searching for a quick second. He sacrificed himself for the cause there. Perera in now, and straight into the thick of things, planking six over square-leg. He misses the last ball, though.

Over 19 - SL 167/3 (Sangakkara 36, Jeevan 42) Jarvis' attempt to run out Sangakkara at the striker's end goes askew, amounting to four more overthrows for Sri Lanka. The batsman then rubs salt into the wounds, lofting four more over point. Then a waist-high no-ball, and Zimbabwe all splitting at the seams here. Bowling coach Heath Streak will be upset by this performance. The Zimbabwean attack is much better than this, and they will know as much. Finally, Ervine at square-leg, puts in a superb diving stop to restore the balance.

Over 18 - SL 150/3 (Sangakkara 30, Jeevan 37) Vitori will bowl the third-last over of the innings, making sure to get his length as full as possible, ensuring the bounce too. Sangakkara hasn't been at his fluid best today, and this partnership would be pretty languid were it not for Mendis' effort. This, by the way, is now his highest score in T20I cricket, outgunning the 29 not out he made against the Aussies in August. An overthrow and a wide, meanwhile, help Sri Lanka all the more. 150 up for Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe, if/when they lose this match, will rue a poor day in the field...

Over 17 - SL 139/3 (Sangakkara 22, Jeevan 35) Jarvis back into the attack, and right up there with a couple of blockhole deliveries, which are always going to be hard to get away. So the batsmen decide to make their own length, dancing down the track to meet the delivery at its pitch. Unfortunately, for Zimbabwe, the latest yorker beats everyone, including wicketkeeper Taylor, as four byes scream to the fence.

Over 16 - SL 129/3 (Sangakkara 20, Jeevan 31) Mendis flatbats a single past bowler Mpofu, allowing Sangakkara some strike, but the former captain quickly returns it to his fellow left-hander. This trend continues for the bulk of the over, with Sri Lanka only managing singles when they want boundaries. One such four eventually arrives, with Sangakkara helping some lame width over the head of point. Sri Lanka on course for a 160-plus total here - pretty good considering the trying nature of this pitch.

Over 15 - SL 120/3 (Sangakkara 15, Jeevan 27) Chigumbura's introduction into the attack brings immediate expense for Zimbabwe, with Mendis hoisting the first six of the tournament over backward square-leg. Later, he tries the switch hit, but doesn't connect. David Warner or Kevin Pietersen surely would have done better. Nor does his huge heave across the line to a slower delivery work. Rushes of blood to the head, indeed. A little lap around the corner, all the way for four, certainly pays off. Chigumbura needs to find a tighter line, especially with thirdman and fine-leg up in the circle.

Over 14 - SL 107/3 (Sangakkara 14, Jeevan 16) Swept in front of square, darn hard at that, Mendis wants everything to do with Cremer's long-hop. That's exactly why he has been sent to the crease ahead of Mathews, as his next slap to the long-off fence attests to. Poor end to an otherwise great four-over complement from the leg-spinner. Jeevan outscoring Sangakkara now. So arrives the Sri Lankan 100.

Over 13 - SL 96/3 (Sangakkara 12, Jeevan 7) Mpofu back into the attack, and he starts with a clever slower ball to fool Mendis. Zimbabwe's boundary riders later do some good work on the fences, preventing a couple of fours. Not the men at mid-off and mid-on, though, who allow Jeevan four on the drive. A bobble in the field, perhaps, didn't help 'em. The umpire is left laughing at the sight of the comedy of errors. Meanwhile, two left-handers at the crease, and it's not doing much to help the fast bowler's quest for a consistent line.

Over 12 - SL 86/3 (Sangakkara 8, Jeevan 1) This will be another run-out. WICKET! Casually trotting through for the second run, Jayawardene doesn't realise the immediacy behind the return throw from that man Waller, seeking redemption for his two dropped catches. The bowler gathers, whips off the bails, and the batsman's lunge isn't long enough. That's poor running from the veteran. He will be kicking himself, perhaps literally, en route back to the dugout. Jeevan, promoted above Mathews or Perera, to the crease now - and he will do well to not take example from his captain's lead.

Over 11 - SL 80/2 (Jayawardene 12, Sangakkara 4) Zimbabwe's spinners tying the batsmen down despite their finest efforts to find the fence. Jayawardene eventually middles one, but can only pick out the man on the midwicket fence. On the bounce, though, so no harm either way. Utseya finding so much turn, that it pitches on off-stump and turns down the leg-side - no wide, rightly so.

Over 10 - SL 76/2 (Jayawardene 11, Sangakkara 1) Not for the first time today and probably not the last, Sri Lanka chance their arm with a risky single. No run-out now, and now lbw dismissal later either. Cremer, who gets the wrong'un to drift into Jayawardene and traps him on the front pad dead in front, has his appeal obliged. Jayawardene starts to make his way off the field, only to return after television replays reveal a backfoot no-ball from the leg-spinner. He touched the popping crease with his heel. Shame. That will, momentarily, take the wind out of Zimbabwe's sails. They can't let this negatively affect 'em, though. WICKET! All is well that ends well for the African side, however, with Dilshan feathering an edge to the wicketkeeper. That was the straight, quick delivery from Cremer. It has done the trick. No backfoot no-ball in this one. 2012 ICC Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year Sangakkara in now.

Over 9 - SL 70/1 (Dilshan 38, Jayawardene 8) Utseya cops the tournament's first reverse-sweep, with Jayawardene orchestrating the unorthdox shot to perfection in fetching four exquisite runs. With thirdman and fine-leg up in the circle, that unusual stroke is always on offer. The regular sweep, too, which Dilshan deploys for a couple more. Sri Lanka gunning it at almost eight runs an over here and, with nine wickets still in hand, can target a 190-plus score - if they really get stuck in from here on in...

Over 8 - SL 59/1 (Dilshan 32, Jayawardene 3) Time for some leg-spin as Cremer, picked ahead of the veteran price, enters the attack. He really has to get his length right, or he will travel far and wide at the hands of Dilshan and Jayawardene's collective mercilessness. And he does just that, keeping the trigger-happy duo's boundary-seeking ambition to mere singles.

Over 7 - SL 55/1 (Dilshan 30, Jayawardene 1) WICKET! Absolute comedy of errors as Munaweera falls to his knees in trying to sweep, misses the ball, sets off for a run regardless, but is turned on his heels by Dilshan's denial. The striker loses his bat amid the drama, and can't beat the return throw back to his crease. For all that, he is run out, as television replays soon reveal. You don't see that every day - a batsman putting in a giant leap instead of the dive. Correctly so, in this case, as he didn't have a piece of wood to elongate his lunge. Off he mopes. Captain Jayawardene in now.

Over 6 - SL 53/0 (Munaweera 17, Dilshan 29) More right-arm seam. Mpofu will bowl the final over of the Powerplay. DROPPED! Meanwhile, the ball is following Waller, who grasses a realtively easy chance at backward square-leg. Falling forward, clasping at the ball low to the ground, he only manages to parry it to the deck - Munaweera survives again. Dilshan takes advantage of the lifeline on his batting partner's behalf, deploying his trademark 'DilScoop' and a the straightest of drives for back-to-back fours. Expensive start for the lanky, wayward Mpofu as the Sri Lanka 50 - and, of course, the half-century alliance - arrives.

Over 5 - SL 38/0 (Munaweera 12, Dilshan 19) The 2012 World Twenty20's first over of spin will be bowled by Utseya, whose lack of effective length is soon worked to the deep-cover fence for four by Dilshan. Great timing in that shot, indeed. Utseya too coughs up a leg-side wide, and then another - that's a full over of extra deliveries from the visiting attack. Shameful. Some tidy turn for Utseya regardless, though.

Over 4 - SL 29/0 (Munaweera 12, Dilshan 13) Zimbabwe's seamers almost averaging a wide per over here, and that's really not what skipper Taylor will want after winning the toss and choosing to bowl first. Dilshan then chases what would have been a leg-side wide, fetching a top edge which fortunately plugs into no-man's land in the fine-leg area. Later a clever slower, albeit full, delivery - and another lame wide, and then a half-volley walloped for four by Dilshan. Vitori not loving life in and against Sri Lanka at the moment. The over closes with Munaweera almost run out at the striker's end. He was gone for all money had the attempted direct-hit struck willow.

Over 3 - SL 19/0 (Munaweera 11, Dilshan 6) Dilshan and sidekick going hard at the ball each and every time. Not connecting well, though, and they'd be better off just turning the singles until their respective proverbial eyes on in. Jarvis, meanwhile, finds some big bounce - but cops a wide for his bent-back effort. At least he will know what this pitch has to offer from that short ball. The debutant later spoons four over the bowler's head, but misses his next swipe through the line. DROPPED! And, to cap the over, Waller spills a chance in the deep. Munaweera miscued, the ball skied, and then fell through the fingers of the fielder in the midwicket region. Waller did all the hard work in getting there, but couldn't hang on with outstretched arms. Tough chance, indeed, but those need to be taken at this level.

Over 2 - SL 10/0 (Munaweera 4, Dilshan 5) Southpaw seamer Vitori next, approaching the right-handed Dilshan from over - and very wide - of the wicket. Too full, eventually, though, and duly spanked through the covers for four by Dilshan, who remains perturbed by the movement behind the bowler's arm. Too often cricket falls prey to rogue, silly fans meandering across the sightscreen. Then a lame leg-side wide, and a single tucked behind square-leg. Really, not a great start from Vitori, until he bites back - to an extent - with a shout for lbw. Pitched outside Munaweera's leg-stump, though, so was never going to be given out. Never say never, however, when umpire Tucker is involved.

Over 1 - SL 4/0 (Munaweera 4, Dilshan 0) Right-arm seamer Jarvis gets first use of the new ball and coughs up an ugly full toss to start. It swung, yes, but was harmless, with Munaweera slicing it through backward point and cover for four. A boundary off your first ball faced in international cricket, fancy that. The rest of the over is tighter from Jarvis, who cleans up his act - and forces the debutant into a false shot to close the over.

Lack Of Bums On Seats Small, albeit growing, crowd in. Not what you want to see from the get-go of a major ICC tournament, but so be it. This isn't a major game, really, the bigger guns will file in later this week - and so to the appropriately sized crowds. "Zimbabwe might fancy themselves here, by causing an upset here. Sri Lanka, at home, will be difficult to beat. But who knows what might happen if they manage to restrict Sri Lanka? Something chaseable, I hope," declares Thomas Musonza.

Strap In For The Ride With the fanfare, national anthems, handshakes and other such pleasantries over, umpires Rod Tucker and Ian Gould, opening batsmen Munaweera - a fine graduate of the Sri Lanka Premier League - and Dilshan and the Zimbabwean XI out to the middle for the start of play. Game on. Here we go.

Odd Selection "No Price?! What are Zimbabwe thinking? They just can't afford to not play the experienced man," says Michael Knott. Your thoughts on the teams' respective selections welcome here:

Sri Lanka XI Dilshan Munaweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga

Zimbabwe XI Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Brian Vitori, Chris Mpofu.

Team News Spinner Ajantha Mendis makes a return to the Sri Lankan XI, while opening batsman Dilshan Munwaweera is handed a debut. Taylor, meanwhile, is pleased with his plehora of spin-bowling options, which includes specialists Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer. No Ray Price, though.

Toss This just in: Visiting skipper Brendan Taylor triumphs in the flip of the coin and Zimbabwe will field first.

Let's Hear From You While we await the toss, here's our first bit of feedback for the day - Thomas Pendleton, from Essex, is looking forward to seeing how the conditions play out: "England need to get to grips with the Sri Lankan specs quickly, and this match between the hosts and Zimbos will soon show what's on offer. I see New Zealand used two spinners to open the attack in their warm-up game? Will that be the general trend?" You too can mail your opinions to:

Conditions We've got a coolish evening on our hands in Hambantota, where the wind is very prevalent as usual. Meanwhile, pseudo pitch pundit Sanjay Manjrekar has surveyed the playing surface, finding a bit of grass cover, but by no means is this a greentop, he insists.

Greetings Hello and welcome to our over-by-over commentary of the first game in the 2012 World Twenty20. This one's a Group C clash, with Sri Lanka taking on Zimbabwe at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota.

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