Dilshan stars with bat and ball in Kandy
Kandy, Sri Lanka – Brilliant centuries from Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga helped Sri Lanka to a comprehensive 139-run win over Zimbabwe at the new Pallekele Cricket Ground on Thursday.
Dilshan hit 144 at better than a run-a-ball while the left-handed Tharanga (133) added 282 for the first wicket – the highest partnership for the opening wicket in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup, and the fourth highest ODI partnership of all time.
The first wicket finally fell after 44.4 overs, as the pair just missed out on the record for the highest ODI stand for the opening wicket, a record of 286 already held by Tharanga, and that prompted a clatter of wickets, including three in one Chris Mpofu over, as he finished up with figures of 4-62 off seven overs.
Zimbabwe's opening pair also started brilliantly with Brendan Taylor (80) leading the way with a series of stunning shots all around the wicket, with Regis Chakabva (35) playing the anchor role.
Local hero, Muttiah Muralitharan, playing his final international match in his home city of Kandy, finally got the breakthrough after a 116 run partnership, and went on to take 3-34.
The first wicket prompted a series of wickets to fall in quick succession, with Dilshan (4-4) only narrowly missing out on a hat-trick when Mahela Jayawardena failed to take a difficult chance at slip. In the end, Sri Lanka dismissed Zimbabwe for 188 all out, achieving a comprehensive victory.