Mendis and the spinners enable Sri Lanka to win

Mendis unbeaten 68 helped Sri Lanka defeat Ireland by nine wickets in their 2022 T20 World Cup Group 1 match in Hobart after a disciplined bowling performance spearheaded by spinners Maheesh Theekshana (2-19) and Wanindu Hasanraga (2-25).

Ireland was restricted to a disappointing 128/8 from their 20 overs by consistent top-order strikes and a dramatic late collapse on the opposite side of a 47-run partnership between Harry Tector (45) and George Dockrell. With a quick 63-run opening partnership, Mendis and Dhanajaya de Silva launched the modest chase, leading Sri Lanka to victory with five overs remaining.

Ireland suffers two powerplay losses

It wasn’t the best powerplay for the team that wanted to bat first until Stirling welcomed Chamika Karunaratne into the assault with consecutive fours and sixes. In the span of 15 balls, Ireland suffered two powerplay losses in an almost identical manner.

In an attempt to ramp a full delivery over short fine, Andrew Balbirnie moved across and exposed his stumps, allowing Lahiru Kumara to smash them down with the first ball of his stint. Similar to Locran Tucker, offspinner Maheesh Theekshana bowled around his legs as he attempted to target the open legside field.

Ireland suffers from frequent strikes

At the conclusion of the powerplay, Stirling’s quick assault had only brought Ireland’s score to 40/2, but they fell further behind when Dhanajana de Silva successfully dived to catch the aggressive opener. Curtis Campher clipped a well-directed short ball from Karunaratne into the waiting palms of the backward point fielder seven balls later. Ireland had only slowly made their way to a problematic 60/4 at the midway point of their innings.

Irish late collapse stars Theekshana and Hasaranga

Ireland was kept afloat for the most of their middle-overs thanks to a strong 47-run partnership that was based on some brilliant running between the wickets. When Sri Lanka didn’t allow many boundary knocks, the pair were content to keep the scoreboard ticking in ones and twos. Tector punished Hasaranga for bowling too short by hitting the pull over deep midwicket.

But a slog-overs collapse of 4 for 11 in the course of 12 deliveries brought it all crashing down. COVID-positive Theekshana finished a strong period with numbers of 2-19, and Dockrell was the first to go down. Tector’s half-century was cut short by five runs thanks to an enticing full-toss from Binura Fernando that the batsman mishit straight to mid-off.

Dealny and Adair were forced to take large risks against a returning Hasaranga in the last over and both failed, holing out in a span of four deliveries to deep midwicket, putting Ireland in trouble at 118/8.