After registering a seven-wicket victory against Namibia on Monday in Abu Dhabi, winning captain Dasun Shanaka heaped praise on Maheesh Theekshana, and stated that the bowler has a bright future ahead of him. Theekshna, was adjudged Man of the match for his brilliant figures of 3/25 in the match.
Sri Lanka won the toss and asked Nambia to bat first, and only Craig Williams (29) and captain Gerhard Erasmus (20) could manage to score above 15 runs. The Sri Lanka bowlers troubled the Namibia batsmen and scalped wickets at regular intervals.
Maheesh Theekshana was the pick of the bowlers with his figures of 3/25. Lahiru Kumara and Wanindu Hasaranga scalped two wickets each and bundled out Namibia for 96.
In pursuit of 97 runs, Sri Lanka did not have a great start as they lost their openers, Pathum Nissanka (5) and Kusal Perera (11) in the initial overs. Dinesh Chandimal (5), who walked out to bat after the dismissal of Kusal Perera, fell to JJ Smit in the fifth over.
Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa partnered for a 74-run stand and helped Sri Lanka to start off their campaign with a victory. Fernando scored 30 not out off 28 balls, and Rajapaksa anchored the innings with his unbeaten 42 off 27 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. Sri Lanka finished the chase in the 14th over and won the match by seven wickets.
Reflecting on his team’s performance, winning captain Dasun Shanaka lauded Maheesh Theekshana for his brilliant performance with the ball. He further stated that the team is looking forward to winning all three matches in the group stage.
“We were planning quite a lot. We want to get through this qualifying stage. All well went for us. Theekshana has been outstanding. He has been training with Ajantha Mendis back home and has a lot more to offer in the future. Our fast bowlers earlier had the pace but not the execution but going forward you can see a lot of good things. We talked with our master, Mahela, and realised batting top of the order, Avishka didn't have great numbers so we decided to bat him at No. 4. Winning all three games will definitely put us in a good state of mind, adjusting to conditions will help in the main tournament,” said Shanaka after the match.
Maheesh Theekshana, recollected his memories of his last match at the same venue, and stated that Abu Dhabi is a lucky ground for him. He further stated that he is happy to represent Sri Lanka, and would like to contribute his best in the upcoming matches.
“I am really happy to represent my country. It is a huge moment for me as I'm only 21 years old. Off-break (is my stock ball). The last game I played here I was Man of the Match, it is a lucky ground for me. I love to represent my country in more games. My plan is to take it game by game,” Theekshana said after the match.
Sri Lanka will next face Ireland on Wednesday, October 20 in Abu Dhabi.