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World champions produce an awesome display at Hove
Sussex were blown away by Sri Lanka as the world champions showed their class in impressive fashion at Hove.
The Sharks were restricted to just 126-7 from their 20 overs by some quality bowling by Thisara Perera and Lasith Malinga in particular.
Sri Lanka stormed to victory off just 9.1 overs with Tillakaratne Dilshan smashing an unbeaten 73 and Kithuruwan Vithnage 52 not out.
Vithnage thumped five sixes in his 24-ball innings while Dilshan hit 64 of his runs in boundaries in an innings that lasted 31 balls.
It proved a chastening experience for Sussex with only Matt Machan emerging with any credit after he top scored with 63.
Machan was the only Sussex batsman to really prosper against the world champion’s impressive bowling attack.
The Scotland international hit 63 off 45 balls – including two sixes off, one of which he smashed off Sachitra Senanayake to bring up his half century.
But no one was able to stay with Machan for any length of time – and those that did hang around struggled to score at a decent rate.
Luke Wells posted his highest Twenty20 score in what was only his second game in the format after being dropped off the very first ball of the game. The left-hander also hit Senanayake for a straight six before being dismissed by Malinga for 11.
Mike Yardy took 25 balls to make 11 and it was almost a relief when he was caught at square leg sweeping Ajantha Mendis.
Rory Hamilton-Brown lasted just three balls and Ben Brown took 20 balls to score 14 as the Sri Lankans stifled the Sharks.
Sussex’s hopes of a big finish were hit when Machan’s fine innings came to an end in disappointing fashion, lobbing a catch to fine leg off Perera.
Ashar Zaidi produced a few lusty blows to finish unbeaten on 14 and blot Malinga’s figures slightly but Sussex’s total of 126-7 still looked woefully short.
Perera finished as the pick of the bowlers with 2-13 while Malinga returned 2-20.
Sri Lanka made short work of the chase with Dilshan and Vithnage signalling their intent right from the start.
Vithnage hit Zaidi for six over square leg in the first over with Dilshan smacking Chris Liddle for four consecutive fours in the next.
The carnage continued with Vithnage launching Steffan Piolet for three sixes in a row as he reached his half century off 22 balls.
Dilshan topped that by bringing up his 50 from 18 balls as Sri Lanka raced to 96-0 from the six over powerplay – missing the record by just one run.
The only question was how long it would take Sri Lanka to reach their target and they achieved it with 65 balls to spare.
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