ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight, Group F, Lord's:
Sri Lanka 144-9 beat Ireland 135-7 by nine runs
Highlights - Sri Lanka bowl over spirited Ireland (UK users only)
The Sri Lanka bowlers made up for their side's disappointing batting display to see off a spirited effort from Ireland in the Twenty20 Super Eights at Lord's.
Ireland seamer Alex Cusack returned figures of 4-18 as Sri Lanka were restricted to 144-9 off their 20 overs.
Will Porterfield and Niall O'Brian put on 59 but Lasith Malinga (2-19), Ajantha Mendis (2-22) and Muttiah Muralitharan (1-13) then took over.
With Ireland only able to make 135-7, Sri Lanka claimed a nine-run victory.
The result moves Kumar Sangakkara's men two points clear of Pakistan and New Zealand at the top of Group F and they remain in pole position for a semi-final spot.
Ireland had some good partnerships but with our bowlers we are always confident
Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara
"We had to win and maybe we didn't get the greatest of starts, but Mahela Jayawrdene (78 not out) batted brilliantly, it was exactly what we needed. He's been doing it for years.
"Our bowling was spot on but maybe there are a few things we could brush up on.
"Ireland had some good partnerships but with our bowlers we are always confident we can pull it back."
Ireland's hopes of reaching the last four are now virtually over, but they did not go down without a fight.
Sangakkara won the toss and his decision to bat first meant the spectators would get an early sight of Tillakaratne Dilshan, the tournament's second-leading run-scorer whose audacious 'shovel shot' has captured the imagination.
Malinga came to his side's aid with a tremendous late spell
But the talented right-hander would have no time for such antics on this occasion as he top-edged the second delivery of the match, off Boyd Rankin, to wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien.
Rankin and Trent Johnston were bowling highly-disciplined opening spells to well-organised fields and, with the Sri Lankans failing to lift the run-rate above four-an-over, Ireland were rewarded with the wicket of Sangakkara.
Fortunately for Sri Lanka, Sanath Jayasuriya and Jayawardene could be called upon to get the scoreboard ticking and, with expert footwork, shot selection and running, their partnership quickly passed 50.
They looked set to guide Sri Lanka towards an imposing total but, crucially for Ireland, off-spinner Kyle McCallan started to impose himself and, after trapping Jayasuriya lbw, he had Chamara Silva caught by Rankin at deep square leg off a top-edge.
Jayawardene was single-handedly holding the innings together and his ability to find the rope with an element of regularity drove Sri Lanka past the 100 mark.
But the Ireland bowlers were hitting their straps and an inspired spell from Cusack resulted in the removal of Jehan Mubarak and then Jayawardene in the space of four deliveries.
A superb catch by John Mooney at long-off did for Nuwan Kulasekara before Cusack's probing line and length accounted for Angelo Mathews and Muralitharan in the final over.
Ireland's reply got under way in cautious fashion before turning into an exciting push for victory.
Porterfield and Niall O'Brien barely gave the unpredictable Sri Lankan bowlers a sniff early on and, although they were scoring below the required rate, their principle aim would have been to negotiate the opening overs unscathed.
There was a brief worry for Ireland when Niall O'Brien required treatment for a twisted ankle but the right-hander showed no ill-effects as he reverse-swept Mendis for a magnificent four and added successive boundaries off Matthews in the ninth over.
The partnership passed 50 before Malinga and Muralitharan began to turn the screw, the seam-spin combination slowing the run-rate before Muralitharan coaxed Porterfield (31) into edging behind with an attempted cut.
Niall O'Brien and Andrew White were in danger of letting the required rate slip beyond their reach and, although the introduction of Kulasekara allowed them to take 13 runs off the 14th over, Ireland would not have been overly displeased when White succumbed.
But they would not have been happy to see bothers Kevin O'Brien and Niall O'Brien fall in the space of four deliveries from the talented Mendis.
Johnston kept Ireland's hopes alive with a towering six over mid-wicket and John Mooney smashed four late boundaries, but Sri Lanka held on for a narrow win.