Australia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh post wins
Australia bowled New Zealand out for 83 to win their first World Twenty20 warm-up in Colombo by 56 runs. New Zealand's chase was constantly punctured by wickets and only three batsmen managed to score in double figures. The rot started at the beginning of the innings, when three wickets had fallen for eight runs by the third over. The only resistance came during a 31-run stand for the fourth wicket between captain Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. At 59 for 7, when the last specialist batsman Williamson was dismissed by Brad Hogg, the contest was over. Hogg took the wickets of Williamson, Taylor and James Franklin, and Shane Watson also bowled economically, taking 2 for 7 in three overs.
Unlike the bowlers, Australia's batsman had not put in a convincing performance. Their openers, David Warner and Shane Watson were dismissed in the 20s and the middle order slumped, leaving Australia on 71 for 5. Glenn Maxwell, who had performed well against Pakistan in the UAE, added 46 runs with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to lead the recovery. Wade and Daniel Christian scored 21 off the last nine deliveries of the innings to set New Zealand 139, which proved far too many.
Bangladesh registered a comfortable five-wicket victory against Zimbabwe, achieving the target of 135 with ten balls to spare. Led by opener Mohammad Ashraful's 38, the chase was structured around two big partnerships of 52 and 50. There was a hiccup when Bangladesh lost three wickets for five runs to slip to 85 for 5, but Mahmudullah and Ziaur Rahman saw them through. Three Zimbabwe bowlers - seamer Brian Vitori, offspinner Prosper Utseya and left-arm spinner Ray Price - proved expensive, going for 10, 13.50 and 9.25 runs per over.
Zimbabwe were slow after they got sent in. Vusi Sibanda was their top scorer, with 40 off 47 balls, and they didn't lose too many wickets in a heap due to steady partnerships for the first four wickets. However, their innings lacked acceleration until at the death, when they were struggling at 106 for 5 with less than two overs to go. Elton Chigumbura and Craig Ervine scored 27 runs in nine deliveries before Ervine was dismissed off the penultimate delivery. Their 134 proved to be too little.
A solid batting performance by Afghanistan helped them defeat Sri Lanka A by 51 runs in Colombo. Their innings was built around a 109-run partnership off 58 balls between opener Mohammad Shahzad and Asghar Stanikzai, which nullified the advantage Sri Lanka A had gained by taking two wickets in the first over without a run on the board. Both Shahzad and Stanikzai, however, were dismissed in the 11th over for 48 and 50 respectively. Mohammad Nabi then scored 51 off 24 balls with five sixes, as he had stands of 30 and 56 with Shafiqullah and Gulbodin Naib to help his team cross the 200-run mark.
Seamer Nuwan Pradeep, who gave Sri Lanka A a positive start with two wickets in the first over, proved expensive, going for 10.75 runs per over. Their best bowler was legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who took 3 for 16 in his four overs.
Sri Lanka A began the chase of 209 well, their openers put on 30 off 22 balls before Shehan Jayasuriya fell to Mohammad Nabi. From 50 for 1, they lost three wickets for seven runs, which included two batsmen stumped off legspinner Samiullah Shenwari. Sri Lanka A lost wickets regularly thereafter and only Kosala Kulasekara stuck around to give them some hope, scored 63 off 38 balls. Kulasekara's wicket in the 17th over signaled the end of the contest. Daulat Zadran took 3 for 22 while all four other bowlers also took wickets.
For a report of India's 26-run victory against Sri Lanka, click here.