Dilshan relieved to deliver match-winning knock


Tillakaratne Dilshan expressed his relief after returning to form with a match-winning knock in Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 victory over Afghanistan at Eden Gardens.

The veteran opening batsman strode to the crease in Kolkata on Thursday in need of runs after being dismissed for a duck in each of his previous two innings.

But Dilshan did not look out of sorts as he made an unbeaten 83 off only 56 balls to guide defending champions Sri Lanka to a six-wicket victory in their opening Group 1 game.

Thisara Perera and Rangana Herath produced impressive spells with the ball to restrict Afghanistan to 153-7, with captain Asghar Stanikzai conjuring up some fireworks for the minnows.

But Dilshan hit three sixes and eight fours in his 13th T20 international half-century and the 39-year-old was delighted to produce a man-of-the-match performance for a Sri Lanka side who had lost their previous five matches in the shortest format of the game.

He said: "Two games I had two ducks, but I needed runs going into the big games. I'm really happy that I finished the game.

"They had some quality bowlers, but we managed very well in the middle. Twos and threes, every wicket we tried to put up a small partnership.

"When you come to these kinds of tournaments, it is very important that I get some runs in the first match. Senior guys need to stand up and do it for the team. The middle order can bat around us."

Afghanistan skipper Stanikzai gave credit to Dilshan and was frustrated with some costly mistakes in the field.

He said: "The total was good, not bad. But Dilshan played really well, he took responsibility and played well, but our fielding wasn't good."