Dasun Shanaka was impressed with the performance of his teammates, and stated that the youngsters in the squad have worked very hard to claim the victory against West Indies on Thursday in Abu Dhabi. He further lauded Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka for their exuberant performance with the bat.
After being asked to bat first, Sri Lanka started off well as openers Kusal Perera (29) and Pathum Nissanka partnered for a 42-run stand before the former fell to Andre Russell in the sixth over. Nissanka, stood solid at one end and scored his third half-century at the marquee event as he smashed 51 runs off 41 balls. The right-hand batsman also stitched up a 91-run stand along with Charith Asalanka, who notched up a 41-ball 68 to accelerate the Sri Lanka innings in the middle overs. Captain Dasun Shanaka unleashed his batting skills at the end, and powered Sri Lanka to 189/3, with his unbeaten 25 off 14 balls. For West Indies, Andre Russell scalped two wickets, whereas Dwayne Bravo clinched one wicket.
In pursuit of 190 runs, West Indies lost thier openers early in the innings as Chris Gayle (1) and Evin Lewis (8) fell to Binura Fernando in the second over of the innings. Nicholas Pooran who walked out to bat at No.3 scored 46 off 34 balls and troubled the Sri Lanka bowlers, but Roston Chase (9), Kieron Pollard (0), and Andre Russell (2) could not contribute much to the West Indies innings. Despite, Shimron Hetmyer's 81 off 54 balls, West Indies went down to Sri Lanka by 20 runs. For Sri Lanka, Binura Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, and Wanindu Hasaranga scalped two wickets each, and helped their side to register the second victory at the Super 12 stage.
Reflecting on his team's performance, Shanka stated that the youngsters in the squad worked really well for the victory. He further lauded Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka for their brilliant performance with the bat.
"A very good victory, the youngsters have worked hard to get this win and I'm happy for them. The bowlers were on the spot, as they have been for major parts of the tournament. I knew they had potential (on Nissanka and Asalanka), they have worked hard, they have a long career, and a lot of cricket to come. They'll have a place in every team. The team is moving in the right direction, the fans have been behind us throughout, we are thankful for them, everyone here and around the world. He is a gem (on Wanindu Hasaranga), a superstar in the making. It's still the start of his career. He needs to be protected as he's a real prospect in world cricket," said Shanaka after the match.
Charith Asalanka, who was adjudged Man of the Match, reckoned that he had waited for five years to get to the national side, and playing a match-winning innings for the nation has always been a great joy.
"It's always a good thing to have a half-century and a match-winning innings for my country and I'll look to do the same in future. Before the World Cup, I didn't play a lot of T20 cricket but I asked the senior players, and I wanted to improve my game everyday with their help. I've waited for 5 years and worked hard to get to the national side, and this is the time I'm getting paid back so it is time to win more matches for my country. I'd like to thank the fans in my country for supporting us through and through,"
Defending champions West Indies have been knocked out of the T20 World Cup 2021 after losing to already-eliminated Sri Lanka.