Sri Lanka came through their Super 12 opener against Ireland in Hobart to make a strong statement of their ambitions at the showpiece event. After a display of clinical bowling, Kusal Mendis played for the Lions with a raucous half-century that significantly boosted his side’s net run rate.
Ireland’s dream of building on their momentum after a resounding victory over the West Indies came crashing down at the Oval de Bellerive on Sunday as they entered the second phase of the tournament with a complete thrashing at the hands of Sri Lanka. The Asian contingent dominated all three aspects of the game and in the end came away with a nine-wicket victory with 30 more balls to spare.
Choosing to set a goal, the Irish suffered a major setback on the first ball of the second over themselves with last game hero skipper Andy Balbirnie leaving for just 1. On that they never found a good one. pace and frequently lost wickets. Paul Stirling and Harry Tector put up valiant fights with shots of 34 (25) and 45 (42) respectively, but the lack of a late outburst meant it was enough to take them to 128/8. It was the usual suspects who enabled such a clinical bowling performance for Sri Lanka, with spin duo Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana each scalping two victims.
In response, Ireland were uncharacteristically sloppy on the pitch, missing several outs and a few goalkeepers. Substitute at the opening of the rested Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva laid the foundation with a well calculated 31 (25). Kusal Mendis built on it with an unbeaten 68 on just 43 deliveries, including a late blitzkrieg to go home well ahead of time.
— Chenul Wahalathantri (@Imchenul) October 23, 2022
Yup Kusal Mendis giving up more runs than any SL bowler in a match, Ireland were 128/8. Ekdum meh match https://t.co/boVRXT5moF
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) October 23, 2022
The six winners
SL wins by 9 wickets. Rightly Kusal Mendis scores the winning points ❤
— Darshana (@_TheKande) October 23, 2022
Kusal Mendis was once again outstanding at the top as he planted a platform and kicked off to win. But I really enjoyed watching Charith Asalanka beat with ease. A star of 2021 #T20WorldCup but has struggled ever since. Today saw a return of his exquisite timing. Great to see.
—Harrison Burridge (@hburridge2) October 23, 2022
Lead the team to victory
— Monkey Baat (@dr_heiSANEberg) October 23, 2022
Back to back
Kusal Mendis’ last two sets in this 2022 T20 World Cup – 79(44), 68*(53). He is the top points scorer of this T20 World Cup so far.
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) October 23, 2022
The fastest Sri Lankan 🇱🇰 to reach 10 T20I 50+ scores.
45 rounds – KUSAL MENDIS ***
50 rounds – Kusal Janith Perera
52 innings – Mahela Jayawardene
57 innings – TM Dilshan#T20WorldCup#T20WorldCup2022 pic.twitter.com/8SwvayLZk5
— Thurunu Jayasiri (@ThurunuJ) October 23, 2022
T5: Kusal mendis hit all six winners and srilanka won the game by 9 Wickets easy win from sl… Very good bowling by srilanka and clean hitting by kusal mendis.. I thought kusal mendis was one of the top scorers of this world cup race 🏆 #SLvsIRE
—Himanshu Singh (@HimanshuSinghss) October 23, 2022
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