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Hobart, Oct 23 (UiTV/IANS) – Opener Kusal Mendis smashed an unbeaten 68, his second consecutive fifty on the trot, as Sri Lanka secured a clinical nine-wicket win over Ireland in their Super 12 match of the Men’s T20 World Cup at the Bellerive Oval on Sunday.
After Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana took two wickets each in a brilliant bowling performance as Sri Lanka restricted Ireland to a paltry 128/8 in 20 overs, Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva (31) shared a 63-run opening stand, before the right-hander and Charith Asalanka (31 not out) finished off the chase with nine wickets in hand and 30 balls remaining.
In a modest chase, Mendis and de Silva smashed five boundaries to bring up the fifty of the opening stand in the power-play as Ireland’s bowling attack had an off day. The Irish had the breakthrough in the ninth over when Gareth Delany forced de Silva to cut a short and wide delivery, giving a top-edge straight to Lorcan Tucker.
They could have got another wicket if George Dockrell hadn’t dropped Asalanka’s catch running in from deep mid-wicket in the 11th over. Mendis then brought up his fifty with back-to-back fours off Delany and then gave the same treatment to Joshua Little. Fittingly, Mendis finished off the match with a brace of sixes off Simi Singh to lead Sri Lanka’s commanding chase.
Brief scores: Ireland 128/8 in 20 overs (Harry Tector 45, Paul Stirling 34; Maheesh Theekshana 2/19, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/25) lost to Sri Lanka 133/1 in 15 overs (Kusal Mendis 68 not out, Charith Asalanka 31 not out; Gareth Delany 1/28) by nine wickets.