Mahela Jayawardene struck a scintillating century as Sri Lanka thumped Zimbabwe by 14 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-marred Group B match to brighten their Super Eight stage prospects in the Twenty20 World Cup here on Monday.
Beaten by New Zealand in their previous outing, a win was imperative on Monday for the Lankans who rode on Jayawardene’s masterly 64-ball 100 -- fourth century in the short history of Twenty20 Internationals -- to post 173 for seven.
Zimbabwe’s chase ran into a rain-interruption after the first over from Ajantha Mendis. Play did resume after 66 minutes with the minnows chasing a revised victory target of 104 runs from 11 overs but another weather-disruption greeted them four overs later when they were 29 for one.
Consequentially the Duckworth-Lewis method was invoked and Zimbabwe were found 14 runs behind their opponents.
Zimbabwe have little time to recover as they return here on Tuesday to face New Zealand.
Earlier, the Lankan innings turned out to be a one man show with only three batsmen reaching double digit figures and Thissara Perera’s 23 being the second highest score.
The defeat against New Zealand had pushed the Lankans to the brink of disaster and there was no way they could underestimate giant-killer Zimbabwe who have humbled Australia and Pakistan in warm-up matches.
Jayawardene’s demeanour, however, betrayed no signs of any trouble whatsoever as the right-hander took the rival attack by the scruff of its neck once Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and decided to set Zimbabwe a total.
The first shot Jayawardene offered was a delectable square cut that raced to the boundary. He followed it with an elegant drive that cleared the long off ropes for a sweet six and finished the over with a four, milking 14 runs off the first over sent down by Chris Mpofu.
Elton Chigumbura prolonged Tillakaratne Dilshan’s (2) bad patch but as if to avenge it, Jayawardene hit Chigumbura for two fours and a six in his next over and went on to add 56 runs with Perera before the Lankans lost three wickets in quick successions to slump to 113 for four.
Jayawardene, however, kept going at the other end and brought up his century in 63 balls before Price finally removed him in the penultimate over.