PLAYER OF THE MATCH HASARANGA (71), NISSANKA (61)
Sri Lanka rose from the dumps of losing 3 wickets for 8 runs to demolish Ireland by 70 runs to romp into the Super 12 of the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup 2021 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The win was fashioned by Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva who smashed 71 off 47 balls and Pathum Nissanka 61 off 47.
Irish eyes did smile when Stirling and Josh Little reduced the former world champions to 3 for 8 off just 1.4 overs when Paul Stirling sent back Kusal Janith Perera for a second ball duck – (1-1) and Josh Little clean bowled Dinesh Chandimal for 6 –(2-8, 1.3 overs) and proceeded to rattle Avishka Fernando’s stumps for a second ball duck in a rousing euphoric start to Ireland’s world cup campaign. But thus far and no further the Irish would smile opener Pathum Nissanka, who had watched from the other end as the calamity set in, made sure together with the pinch hitting Wanindu Hasaranga as the fourth wicket pair mauled the Irish attack to the tune of 123 runs off 80 balls in a typical down, but not out scripting as Sri Lanka recovered to 171 for 7 off 20 overs. Hasaranga smote 10 boundaries and a six in a strike rate of 151.06 while Nissanka hit 6 boundaries and a six in a strike rate of 129.78. Ireland was dismantled for 101 off 18.3 overs with Hasaranga’s returns of 1 for 12 earning him the Player of the Match award.
Ireland’s flattering reputation of upsetting better known teams suffered early blows as quick Chamika Karunaratne sent back Kevin Obrien for 5 caught by Maheesh Theekshana for 5 who then came on first change to dismiss Paul Stirling for 7 caught by Lahiru Kumara as Ireland were reduced to 2 for 18 in 2.3 overs and when Gareth Delany was bowled by Hasaranga making it 3 for 32 after 4.2 overs, the Lankans had broken the back of the Irish batting in a tenacious display of attacking cricket as skipper Dasun Shanaka rotated his bowlers for the breakthroughs. Skipper Andy Balbirnie 41 off 39 (2×4, 2×6) and Curtis Campher 24 off 28 (2×4) revived the innings adding 53 for the fourth wicket, but Theekshana bowled Campher making it 85 for 4 after 12.5 as Ireland lost the last six wickets for 15 runs in 5.4 overs. Theekshana claimed 3 for 17, Karunaratne 2 for 27 and Lahiru Kumara 2 for 22.
With a game left against the Netherlands, the Lankans had already done it romping from the qualifying round to the Super 12. But carry the continued frontline vulnerability to the drawing board the Lankan camp would as they prepare to front the more challenging battles into the thick of their campaign.
Ireland will face Namibia in a must win decider as to which of the two would go through.
Sri Lanka lead Group A with an unbeaten record of two wins from two matches for 4 points for newt run rate of 3.165 while Ireland are second with 2 points from two having won one and net run rate 1.010 followed by Namibia 2 points from 2 with one loss and net run rate of 1.163.
Sri Lanka 171/7 (20 overs) RR: 8.55
(Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 71, Pathum Nissanka 61, Dasun Shanaka n.o. 21, Josh Little 4/23, Mark Adair 2/35)
Ireland 101 (18.3 Overs) RR: 5.45
(Andy Balbirnie 41, Curtis Campher 24, Maheesh Theekshana 3/17, Lahiru Kumara 2/22, Chamika Karunaratne 2/27)