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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 18:25 UK

Mahela Jayawardene inspires Sri Lanka win over Zimbabwe

ICC World Twenty20, Guyana:
Sri Lanka 173-7 (20 overs) beat Zimbabwe 29-1 (5 overs) by 14 runs (Duckworth Lewis)
Match scorecard

Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene
Jayawardene became the second player to score a hundred in the tournament

By Harry Reekie

A brilliant century from opener Mahela Jayawardene inspired Sri Lanka to a rain-affected 14-run win against Zimbabwe in the ICC World Twenty20.

The opener hit a majestic 100 from the top of the order in Guyana as his side racked up 173-7 batting first.

Having reached 4-0 after one over, heavy rain forced Zimbabwe into chasing a revised target of 104 from 11 overs.

They reached 29-1 and played the necessary five overs before a second shower ultimately ended the game.

Defeat would have meant an early exit for Kumar Sangakkara's side following a narrow defeat by New Zealand on Friday.

Their preparations were further rocked when a groin injury forced star bowler Muttiah Muralitharan to pull out of the tournament prior to the match on Monday but any fears were allayed by Jayawardene's knock.

Jayawardene became only the fourth player to reach three figures in international Twenty20, alongside New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, West Indies captain Chris Gayle and India's Suresh Raina.

Zimbabwe's cause was hardly helped when the rain arrived but they were always up against it and now need to beat New Zealand on Tuesday to have any chance of reaching the Super Eight stage.

Following their defeat by the Black Caps, Sangakkara had urged his side to simply "score more runs" but, just as had been the case on Friday, Jayawardene appeared to be the only batsman listening.

The opener wasted little time in tucking into a floundering Zimbabwe attack in what proved a match-winning innings, spraying the ball around the Providence stadium seemingly at will.

Three huge sixes disappeared over the ropes in no time and the classy right-hander easily brought up the fastest half-century of the tournament so far - off just 27 balls - in supreme style.

Zimbabwe's bowlers - much praised in the build-up to the game - were unable to do anything to hold up the 32-year-old in the first 10 overs and even when the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) lobbed to mid-off cheaply, Jayawardene was undeterred.

Rain stops play in Guyana
Rain ultimately ruined what promised to be an exciting game in Guyana

But regular wickets and poor shots at the other end ultimately put the brakes on the Sri Lanka onslaught, with Thissara Perera (23) firstly holing out in the deep before Sangakkara (3) chopped to leg gully in uncharacteristically ugly fashion.

Dinesh Chandimal (9) was fortunate when Greg Lamb shelled a howler at long-on but failed to capitalise when another clubbed drive was plucked out of the air by Chris Mpofu.

Angelo Mathews (4) also failed to offer any support to his in-form team-mate, watching in horror as a full-blown cart was taken superbly by Craig Ervine on the mid-wicket boundary.

But Sri Lanka were once again able to rely on Jayawardene, whose 81 was the main highlight in his side's opening game last week.

This time he went further, bringing up a magnificent hundred off only 64 balls that propelled his team towards a daunting total on a slow pitch.

The former skipper was eventually caught in the deep moments after bring up his century but the damage had been done in what was ostensibly a one-man show on the South American mainland.

Zimbabwe's batsmen were up against it from the start and their momentum was not helped when tropical rains swept across Guyana, forcing the players to run from the field after just one over in reply.

Following a break of more than an hour and with the wind firmly out of their sails, they returned to face a revised target from 10 overs.

Any thoughts of achieving that were dealt an immediate blow when Hamilton Masakadza (4) was run out after a laughable mix-up.

But further rain ultimately halted proceedings for good with Zimbabwe at 29-1, having played the required amount of five overs, meaning Sri Lanka claimed a vital win to stay in the competition - albeit in disappointing circumstances.

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see also
World Twenty20 day four photos
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NZ beat Sri Lanka in T20 thriller
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ICC World Twenty20 teams guide
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ICC World Twenty20 2010
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Women's World Twenty20 2010
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Live cricket on the BBC
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