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23-Oct-2022 12:50:00 GMT
SL v Ire - 15th match Super 12 Group 1, Hobart

Spinners, Mendis star in Sri Lankan comfortable win

Sri Lanka 133 for 1 (Mendis 68*, Asalanka 31*, Dhananjaya 31) beat Ireland 128 for 8 (Tector 45, Stirling 34, Theekshana 2-19, Hasaranga 2-25) by nine wickets

Hobart: Sri Lanka cruised to a nine-wicket victory over Ireland in their Super 12s opener at the T20 World Cup in Hobart.

Kusal Mendis smashed an unbeaten 68 from 43 balls as Sri Lanka secured victory with five overs to spare.

Ireland earlier limped to 128-8, with top-scorer Harry Tector, who hit 45 off 42, one of only three players to reach double figures.

Sri Lanka's spinners were particularly impressive, with Maheesh Theekshana taking 2-19 and Wanindu Hasaranga 2-25.

The result means Sri Lanka sit second in the early Group 1 table as one of three teams on two points, with New Zealand top and England third on net run rate.

Ireland went into this game full of confidence after thrashing two-time winners West Indies by nine wickets in their final group match to reach this stage, but this was a sobering reality check on a chilly afternoon in Hobart.

Following successful chases in their previous two matches, captain Andy Balbirnie surprisingly chose to bat first after winning the toss, but their innings never got going.

They were reduced to 26-2 inside five overs, with Balbirnie bowled by Lahiru Kumara for one and Lorcan Tucker bowled around his legs by Theekshana for 10.

The dangerous Paul Stirling, dropped by Kumara on 28, added just six more runs before being caught at long-off by Bhanuka Rajapaksa off the bowling of Dhananjaya de Silva. And when Curtis Campher went for two in the following over, Ireland were in deep trouble at 60-4.

Tector's patient innings steadied the ship, but disciplined bowling in the middle overs meant Ireland struggled for boundaries.

They only hit two sixes in the entire innings and scored just 28 runs off the final five overs for the loss of four wickets.

When Mendis and De Silva raced to 50-0 after the powerplay in reply the result was never in doubt.

De Silva's dismissal for 31 thanks to a sharp take by wicketkeeper Tucker failed to halt their momentum, with Charith Asalanka adding 31 from 22 deliveries before Mendis sealed the win with a huge six over mid-wicket.

Ireland will now have to lift themselves for Wednesday's meeting with England, the first time the teams have met at a global tournament since Ireland's shock victory the 2011 50-over World Cup.

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