Images from the T20 World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Ireland, in Hobart, on Sunday.
Sri Lanka got their Super 12 campaign at the T20 World Cup off with a thumping nine-wicket triumph over Ireland in Hobart on Sunday.
The reigning Asia Cup champions, thrashed by Namibia in the opening match of the first round of the tournament, turned in a clinical display with ball and bat after Ireland chose to bat first.
Star spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2/25) took his eighth and ninth scalps of the tournament thus far. He was well-supported by fellow-spinner Maheesh Theekshana (2/19), who was thrust into the bowling crease during Ireland's batting Powerplay.
Not only did Sri Lanka take wickets at regular intervals, but they also kept the run rate down as Ireland's batters were unable to gather much momentum and were restricted to 128/8 from their 20 overs.
Their run-chase was a mere formality, with in-form opener Kusal Mendis (68 from 43 balls) continuing his excellent tournament thus far with another half-century.
Bhanuka Rajapaksac, the other opener, was dismissed after scoring 31 off 25 balls, which included 2 fours and a six in the ninth over, with Sri Lanka cruising at 63 for 6, but it hardly mattered.
Charith Asalanka, the new-man in, went about the task calmly, scoring an unbeaten 31 off 22 as the Lankans completed victory in just 15 overs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s bowlers produced an all-round effort, picking wickets at regular intervals. They were right on the money after being asked to bowl as Ireland failed to build substantial partnerships.
Harry Tector was Ireland’s top-scorer, with 45 off 42 balls, including two fours and one six, while Paul Stirling scored 34 off 25 balls during which he struck four boundaries and two hits over the fence.
Maheesh Theekshana (2/19) and Wanindu Hasaranga (2/25) shared four wickets between them, while Lahiru Kumara (1/12), Dhananjaya de Silva (1/13), Chamika Karunaratne (1/29), Binura Fernando (1/27) took one each for the island nation.
Opting to bat, Ireland lost skipper Andy Balbirnie early, bowled by Kumara as the batter went for an expansive shot over the keeper and short third-man fielder.
Lorcan Tucker (10) too perished in somewhat similar fashion, gloving one back on to his stumps while going across to target the vacant fine-leg area.
Stirling, who had scored a match-winning 66 to guide Ireland to the Super 12 stage, played in his usual aggressive style before Bhanuka Rajapaksa took a brilliant catch at deep extra cover to cut short the Irishman's innings.
Curtis Campher lasted for just four deliveries as Ireland slumped to 60 for 4 at the half-way mark of their innings.
Tector and George Dockrell, who played despite being COVID positive but struggled, stitched 47 runs off 41 balls for the fifth wicket to take Ireland past the 100-run mark.
Dockrell's (14 off 16) struggle finally came to an end when Theekshana went through his defence in the 17th over.
Hasanranga then joined the party and dismissed Gareth Delany (9) and Mark Adair in the space of three deliveries in the 19th over as Ireland’s batting continued to falter.
Ireland have two full days to lick their wounds and recover, with a difficult match-up against England their next assignment at the MCG on Wednesday.