Kolkata, March 18: Defending champions Sri Lanka survived a temporary scare to beat a spirited but indisciplined Afghanistan in their opening match in Group 1 at the Eden Gardens here in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Riding veteran Tillakaratne Dilshan's unbeaten 83 off 56 balls, the islanders overhauled the Afghans' competetive score of 153 with seven balls to spare. Sri Lanka, who beat India to lift their first T20 world title in the third attempt in 2014, next play group toppers West Indies in Bengaluru on Sunday (March 20).
Sri Lanka also kept the tradition of the defending champions winning their first match in the T20 World Cup alive. The only exception to the tradition, however, came in 2014 when defenders West Indies had lost their opening match against India.
How defending champions have done in their first match in T20 WC:
Here is a brief list of the results of the defending champions' opening game in the T20 World Cup since 2009 when the second edition of the tournament was held:
2009: Defenders India beat Bangladesh by 25 runs at Nottingham, England [India 180/5; Bangladesh 155/8]
2010: Defenders Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 21 runs at St Lucia, West Indies [Pak 172/3; Bangladesh 151/7]
2012: Defenders England beat Afghanistan by 116 runs at Colombo, Sri Lanka [England 196/5; Afghanistan 80]
2014: Defenders West Indies lost to India by 7 wickets at Mirpur, Bangladesh [WI 129/7; India 130/3]
2016: Defenders Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 6 wickets at Kolkata, India [Afg 153/7; SL 155/4]