Zimbabwe’s sluggish fielding and wayward bowling do not help its cause

Aided by some sluggish fielding and wayward bowling, and a 94-run partnership between Kumar Sangakkara (44) and Jeevan Mendis (43 not out), Sri Lanka made 182 for the loss of four wickets in the opening game of the ICC world T20 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International stadium here.

Zimbabwe’s bowling and fielding was a nightmare. Two fielders converging and letting the ball go through to boundaries, lavish over throws, dropped catches, and converting one into twos for the batting team were among the gifts from Zimbabwe that Sri Lanka gratefully accepted. Debutant opening batsman Dilshan Munaweera (17), picked ahead of Dinesh Chandimal, began the fourth edition of the world cup T20 with a four. A Jarvis full toss that was moving away was put away through point.

Munaweera lived up to the first part of his name — Dilshan, which in international cricket has often translated to living dangerously — and lived a chanced life: an ugly slog that ballooned and travelled towards deep mid on where Malcolm Waller tried to get to the ball, a run out chance missed one over later, a dolly of a catch put down by Malcolm Waller at deep mid wicket…Finally, Munaweera ran out of luck when he tried to regain his crease after being sent back by Dilshan (39). Munaweera set off for a non-existent single, and lost his bat while turning back to regain his crease.

More drama unfolded after the new batsman and Captain Mahela Jayawardene (13) failed to pick a straight Cremer delivery. Mahela was hit bang in front of the stumps and the umpire had no hesitation to lift his finger. But a television check, which is done as a matter of default these days, showed that Cremer had cut the side crease with his back foot. Mahela survived.

Two balls later, Dilshan edged Cremer to wicket keeper Taylor who made no mistake.

Mahela did not last long. He appeared to have been done in by the shorter boundaries. Sangakkara and Mahela have played long enough to sense an opportunity for a run. When Mahela took on a Waller throw and found himself short of the crease, it could just be because of a lapse of concentration which led him to forget the new dimensions of the boundary ropes.

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