Jayawardene hits devastating ton to leave Zimbabwe facing exit

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Mahela Jayawardene's sublime century was too much for Zimbabwe – and the Guyanese rain – as Sri Lanka yesterday set one foot in the World Twenty20's Super Eight stage. Jayawardene (100) batted beautifully to help Sri Lanka rack up 173 for seven, a score Zimbabwe never looked like threatening, rain or no rain.

The weather at Providence interrupted Zimbabwe's reply after just one over, and they didn't get close to a revised target of 106 in 11 – eventually losing by 14 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method following another downpour. Barring a big Zimbabwe victory in the final group game against New Zealand at the same venue tomorrow, Sri Lanka should progress alongside the Kiwis.

Jayawardene raced past his second successive 50 and surged to his maiden hundred in this format – and the second so far in this tournament, following India's Suresh Raina against South Africa yesterday – with 10 fours and four sixes from 63 balls.

The opener traded mainly in conventional cricket shots, with the odd paddle sweep or steer fine on the off-side for occasional variety.

Zimbabwe had no answer to Jayawardene but kept chipping wickets away at the other end. Tillekeratne Dilshan has been unable to replicate his devastating batting from last year's World Twenty20 in England – and went for only two when he mistimed a drive at Elton Chigumbura's first delivery to be caught at mid-off.

Twenty20 debutant Thissara Perera contributed some big blows to a second-wicket stand of 56 in six overs, before smashing a Greg Lamb full toss almost out of the ground only to see the ball well intercepted and held by Chigumbura at long-on.

Neither Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal nor Angelo Mathews could get started, the latter falling to supremely well-judged catch by Craig Ervine on the deep midwicket boundary off Lamb.

But Jayawardene kept making everything look outrageously easy and duly became just the fourth batsman to make a Twenty20 international hundred, before eventually being caught at long-on off Ray Price as Sri Lanka posted easily this venue's highest total of the tournament so far.

It proved plenty too, Zimbabwe starting their run chase twice – losing Hamilton Masakadza to a comic run-out – and getting only as far as 29 for one from five overs before rain had the final say and settled the issue in Sri Lanka's favour.

Ireland captain William Porterfield says his team have a point to prove when they face England tonight in their final ICC Twenty20 group game at Guyana National Stadium. The Irish will be aiming to bounce back from a 70-run defeat in their opening match last Friday night to West Indies, a game that saw them bowled out for a tournament record low of 68 having kept the tournament hosts to 138 for nine in front of their own fans.

"We are better than that. We know we're better than that and that's why it was a really disappointing show, that second half on Friday," Porterfield said. "We know ourselves, everyone knows we're better than that and so we've got to go out and prove that. This is a one-off game, like a play-off, to get into the Super Eights and I think we've just got to go out there and give it our all."

Opening batsman Porterfield said the defeat to West Indies was out of his team's system now but having lost their first three wickets in eight balls and then four after 12 balls, the over-riding message being preached to him and the rest of the Ireland batsmen by coach Phil Simmons was to be patient.

"We can't go about changing a lot at this stage but it's a matter of just getting back to basics," the Irish captain said. "It's knowing there's still time to play a few balls and get ourselves in. We came out and played a lot shots and made a lot of mistakes early doors so we've really got to cut out those mistakes and realise we have got time."

Ireland are likely to go with the same team that started against West Indies and Porterfield reported no injury problems among the squad after a training session at the Everest Cricket Ground in Georgetown that concluded just before a torrential downpour yesterday. The Irish then travelled across the city to watch England play West Indies in their opening game.

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