Jayawardene masterclass dazzles Zimbabwe
Mahela Jayawardene’s rich vain of form continued as the Sri Lankan enjoyed a wonderful innings scoring a breathtaking century to help Sri Lanka set Zimbabwe a victory target of 174.
He became just the fourth player to score a Twenty20 International century reaching the milestone from just 65 ball scoring 10 fours and 4 sixes.
Having won the toss Kumar Sangakkara decided to bat first and Jayawardene, fresh from scoring 81 against New Zealand on Friday night got the innings off to a great start by scoring 14 runs off the first over which was bowled by Christopher Mpofu.
While Jayawardene looked set for another big innings Tillakaratne Dilshan’s lack of form continued. After lighting up last years tournament in England Dilshan has been subdued in the Caribbean
After scoring just 3 runs from 19 balls against New Zealand Dilshan’s batting woes should no signs of abating as he struggled against the Zimbabwe bowlers before scoring just 2 runs before he was caught by Mpofu out on the bundary.
The loss of Dilshan didn’t concern Jayawardene to much; the opener continued his fluent innings delighting the crowd with some classic shots combing finesse with big hitting as he reached his 4th Twenty20 International half century from just 27 balls.
Jayawardene enjoyed a 56 run second wicket partnership with Thissara Perera (23) to help Sri Lanka take control of the game. After a slow start Perera increased his strike rate with a couple of big sixes before he was dismissed by Elton Chigumbura.
After such a fine start Sri Lanak lost their way a little after Sangakkara (3) and Dinesh Chandimal (9) we dismissed within the space of 12 balls to leave them 113-4.
With support from Angelo Matthews (4) and Chamara Kapugedera (13); Jayawardene was given as much of the strike as possible as the opener focused on setting Zimbabwe as big a total as possible.
He wonderful innings was topped off in the 18th over when he completed a magnificent century bringing up the milestone with a quickly taken single.
With wickets in hand Jayawardene (100) tried to increase Sri Lanka’s run rate but his brilliant inning was ended off the final ball of the over after he was caught by Graeme Creamer out on the boundary.
Sanath Jayasuriya (3) and Lasith Malinga (2) saw out the final 6 balls of the innings to help Sri Lanka reach 173-7 after Jayawardene produced a master class just when his team needed it the most. With such a large total to defend Sri Lanka will feel confident of completing an important victory.