Record first-wicket stand helps Sri Lanka crush Zimbabwe (Second Lead)

March 11th, 2011 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS  

Pallekele (Sri Lanka), March 10 (IANS) Openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan set a World Cup record for the first-wicket as Sri Lanka registered a thumping 139 run win over Zimbabwe in a Group A match and qualified for the quarterfinals here Thursday.

Tharanga (133) and Dilshan (144) piled up 282 runs for the first wicket as Sri Lanka scored 327 for six in 50 overs. It was also the first time that two openers got to hundreds in a World Cup.

In reply, Zimbabwe failed to capitalise on a good start and were bowled out for 188 runs in 39 overs with part-time spinner Dilshan ending with figures of 4-4. Dilshan was also adjudged as Man of the Match.

Brendan Taylor gave a fluent start with 80 off 72 balls and was ably supported by Regis Chakabva (35) as Zimbabwe raced to 116 runs for the first wicket stand.

Muttiah Muralitharan, playing in front of his home crowd of Kandy for the last time, broke the partnership by rattling Chakabva’s stumps in the 20th over. It triggered the collapse as Zimbabwe started losing wickets and lost nine wickets for just 72 runs.

Besides Taylor and Chakabva, only Craig Ervine (17), Graeme Cremer (14) and Ray Price (11) could get to double figures while extras added 16.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan openers Tharanga and Dilshan broke the record of 194 runs set by Pakistan openers Saeed Anwar and Wajahatullah Wasti in the 1999 World Cup, after they were put in by Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura.

Tharanga and Dilshan got their centuries in contrasting styles. Dilshan got to his hundred in 95 balls while Tharanga got it in 122 balls.

Dilshan played aggressively right from the start while Tharanga played a patient innings and waited for the bad balls.

The duo were well set to carry their bat through, but Zimbabwe paceman Chris Mpofu struck in the 45th over to remove Tharanga caught by Chigumbura to break the partnership, which fell four runs short of the all-time best first-wicket stand of 286 set by Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya against England in Leeds in 2006.

In the next over, spinner Prosper Usteya struck to remove Dilshan caught by Tinashe Panyangara. Dilshan hit 16 fours and a six in his 131 ball knock while Tharanga struck 17 fours in his 141 ball innings.

After the openers departed, the flow of runs slowed and Sri Lanka’s 300 came at the end of over 47. Mpofu picked up three wickets in the 48th over and ended with figures of four for 62 from his seven overs.

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