The two days of the tournament have come and gone. With some surprises, yes – but also some moments that were surprisingly, well, unsurprising. ANT SIMS wraps up the action.
GROUP A: AFGHANISTAN VS. INDIA – INDIA WON BY 23 RUNS
The scorecard might not flatter them, but Afghanistan put up a serious fight against India in their opening clash of the ICC World T20. Winning the toss and choosing to bowl first, Shapoor Zadran struck early for Afghanistan when Gautam Gambhir chopped onto his stumps in the third over. Virender Sehwag followed soon after, and Afghanistan got stuck in from the start. The Afghans’ fielding let them down, though, and far too many dropped catches allowed India to propel itself to 159-5 on the back of another 50 from Virat Kohli. Afghanistan came out swinging, and the opening pair looked settled until Lakshmipathy Balaji struck. Afghanistan’s batsmen looked solid and continued to push India, but it all came apart as the lower order failed to deal with India’s experience and fell 23 runs short of what would have been a remarkable upset.
India 159-5 (20 overs); Virat Kohli 50 (39), Suresh Raina 38 (33), Shapoor Zadran 4-0-33-2, Dawlat Zadran 4-0-25-1
Afghanistan 136-10 (19.3); Karim Sadiq 26 (26), Mohammed Nabi 31 (17), Lakshmipathy Balaji 3.3-0-19-3, Yuvraj Singh 4-0-24-3
GROUP B: AUSTRALIA VS. IRELAND – AUSTRALIA WON BY SEVEN WICKETS
Ireland entered the competition as one of the underdog potentials, and with Australia not really knowing whether they’re coming or going lately, they had a real chance to cause the first upset of the tournament. The fairytale wasn’t to be, though, and after winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Irish top order flopped. A late charged by The O’Brien brothers looked to resurrect the innings, but they were both dismissed in quick succession and Ireland had to settle for a measly 123 as Shane Watson picked up three wickets. Watson performed equally well with the bat, hitting 51 off 30 opening the batting, and Australia strolled to a dominant seven-wicket win in just 15.1 overs.
Ireland 123-7 (20 overs); Kevin O’Brien 35 (29), Niall O’Brien 20 (24), Shane Watson 4-0-26-3, Mitchell Starc 4-0-20-2
Australia 125-3 (15.1 overs); Shane Watson 51 (30), David Warner 26 (23), George Dockrell 3.1-0-31-1, Kevin O’Brien 3-0-18-1
GROUP C: SRI LANKA VS. ZIMBABWE – SRI LANKA WON BY 82 RUNS
The hosts were always going to be fierce in their own backyards, but they got their opening campaign off to a smashing start, thanks to an abysmal display by Zimbabwe and a little bit of magic from Ajantha Mendis. Zim won the toss and chose to field first, allowing the Sri Lankan opening pair to set an impressive 54-run partnership. Tillakaratne Dilshan was particularly impressive – smashing 39 off 28. Both Kumar Sangakkara and Jeevan Mendis then chipped in with quick fire runs – Sangakkara scoring an unbeaten 44 off 26 and Mendis contributing 43* off 30. Sri Lanka notched up an impressive total of 182-4 in their 20 overs, while the Zim spinners were left to toil and Zim’s fielding was nothing short of embarrasing. Zim’s chase got off to a stutter as Ajantha Mendis dismissed the two top order batsmen – with neither of them helping the cause and simply playing some daft shots. It was the Mendis show for most of the innings, as the spinner finished with figures of 4-2-8-6 and Zimbabwe was skittled out for 100.
Sri Lanka 182-4 (20 overs); Kumar Sangakkara 44 (26), Jeevan Mendis 43 (30), Graeme Cremer 4-0-27-1, Brian Vitori 3-0-27-0
Zimbabwe 100-10 (17.3 overs); Hamilton Mazakadza 20 (23), Elton Chighumbura 19 (19), Ahantha MEndis 4-2-8-6, Jeevan Mendis 4-0-24-3 DM
Photo: India’s Yuvraj Singh (L) bowls during their ICC World Twenty20 group A match against Afghanistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo September 19, 2012. REUTERS/Philip Brown
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