Sri Lanka had their work cut out for them in their World Cup opener against South Africa, who had set them a mammoth target of 429 runs. However, the Lions got off to a flying start thanks to a brilliant knock by Kusal Mendis. Mendis raced to a 25-ball half-century, the fastest in Sri Lankan World Cup history, on the back of three boundaries and six maximums.
Kusal Mendis got to the milestone with two sixes and a boundary in the space of three balls, with the sequence including a shot for the highlight reels. Mendis’ knock was a welcome sight for Sri Lankan fans, who had seen their team lose their last 10 ODI matches. He was ably supported by Kusal Perera, who scored 32 runs off 27 balls.
Here are some of the key highlights of Mendis’ innings:
- Fastest half-century in World Cup history
- Only the third fastest half-century by a Sri Lankan batsman in the World Cup
- Scored 25 runs off 17 balls in the PowerPlay
- Hit 3 sixes in the 5th over
- Was dismissed for 51 off 32 balls with 3 fours and 6 sixes
Here is the some of the sixes from Kusal Mendis:
— Ishan Martinez (@IshanMarti66419) October 7, 2023
The duo put on a 65-run partnership for the first wicket before Mendis was dismissed by Lungi Ngidi. His knock had given Sri Lanka a solid start, and they will be hoping to build on it in the coming overs.
Sri Lanka’s decision to win the toss and bowl first backfired spectacularly, with South Africa posting the highest total in World Cup history. Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock put on a 204-run partnership for the second wicket, before Aiden Markram smashed a 49-ball century.
South Africa eventually finished on 428/5, and Sri Lanka will need to play out of their skin if they want to chase down this target. However, Mendis’ knock has shown that it is possible, and the Lions will be hoping to carry the momentum into the second innings.