|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Team 1, Hobart|
|Ireland 128-8 (20 overs): Tector 45 (42); Theekshana 2-19, Hasaranga 2-25|
|Sri Lanka (over 20): Mendis* 68 (43)|
|Sri Lanka won by nine wickets|
Sri Lanka cruised to a nine-run victory over Ireland in their Super 12 opener in the T20 World Cup in Hobart.
Kusal Mendis smashed an unbeaten 68 off 43 balls as Sri Lanka cruised to victory with five overs to spare.
Ireland limped to 128-8, with top scorer Harry Tector, 45 off 42, one of only three players to score a double.
Sri Lanka’s spinners were particularly impressive, with Maheesh Theekshana taking 2-19 and Wanindu Hasaranga 2-25.
The result means Sri Lanka are second in the opening Group 1 table, one of three teams with two points, with New Zealand at the top and England in third.
The 2014 champions travel to Perth on Tuesday (12pm BST). Ireland host England in Melbourne the following day (05:00).
Ireland have fallen to a disappointing defeat
Ireland went into this game full of confidence after two wins West Indies by nine wickets in the final group game to reach this stage, but that was a reality check on a chilly evening in Hobart.
After successful chases in the previous two matches, captain Andy Balbirnie surprisingly elected to bat first after winning the toss, but they never went in.
They were reduced to 26-2 in five overs, Balbirnie Lahiru Kumar for one and Lorcan Tucker through the legs for Theekshana for 10.
The dangerous Paul Stirling, dropped by Kumara on 28, added just six more runs before Bhanuka Rajapaksa was caught at long-on off the bowling of Dhananjaya de Silva. And when Curtis Campher went for two in the next over, Ireland were in deep trouble at 60-4.
Tector’s patient innings steadied the ship, but in the middle overs they were disciplined as Ireland struggled for boundaries.
They hit only two sixes in the entire innings and scored only 28 runs for the loss of four wickets from the last five overs.
The result was never in doubt after the powerplay reply when Mendis and De Silva struck for 50-0.
De Silva’s dismissal for 31 thanks to a sharp take from wicketkeeper Tucker failed to halt his momentum as Charith Asalanka added 31 off 22 deliveries before Mendis sealed the win with a massive six over mid-on.
Ireland will now have to step up for Wednesday’s meeting with England, the first time the teams have met at a global tournament since Ireland won the 2011 World 50.