Sri Lanka on Wednesday defeated Sri Lanka by 70 runs to become the first team from the Round 1 to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. Wanindu Hasaranga starred for Sri Lanka with 71 off 47 and then by taking a wicket by giving away just 12 runs in his four overs.
After being asked to bat first, Sri Lanka lost three quick wickets in the form of Kusal Perera (0), Dinesh Chandimal (6) and Avishka Fernanado. Perera and Fernando departed for golden ducks as the islanders saw themselves reeling at 8/3 in 1.4 overs.
However, Pathum Nissanka (61 off 47) and Wanindu Hasaranga (71 off 47) played the innings to save Sri Lanka from the blushes. Hasranga showed intent throughout his innings, hitting 10 boundaries and a six. Along with Nissanka he took Sri Lanka past the 130-run mark before getting out on the second ball of the 16th over. Nissanka stayed at the crease till the penultimate delivery of the 19th over, and his effort saw 2014 champions finish their innings at 171 for 7 in 20 overs.
Ireland, who defeated Netherlands by seven wickets in their first match, did not even flourish once in the run-chase as wickets kept on falling at regular intervals. Captain Andrew Balbirnie (41) and and Curtis Campher (24) were the only two batsmen to score in double digits. Chamika Karunaratne (2/17), Maheesh Theekshana (3/17), Dushmantha Chameera (1/16), Lahiru Kumara (2/22) and Hasaranga (1/12) joined forced to bundle out the minnows for 101.
Following the team's win and qualififcation in the Super 12 round, Man of the Match decaled that he was a batting all-rounder.
"When I went in I was under pressure, but I rotated the first few balls, then I accelerated. I am a batting allrounder. Tired, with this heat," he said before thanking the Sri Lanka supporters in Sinhalese.
Captain Dasun Shanaka praised the team for the tremedous fightback after the early blows from Ireland at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Of course it was a concern at 8 for 3, but they put on an awesome partnership. Hasaranga at 5 is a plan coming in at the World Cup and it worked well for us. Great luxury to have fast bowlers in the side, great credit goes to both of them and the coaches for the efforts in the nets. Have to look at top-order batting, but other areas are okay, though fielding has been poor as well.
Sri Lanka have two wins from two matches in Group A. Namibia and Ireland have won a match each, and the winner between the two teams on Friday, will decide the second qualifier from the group. Netherlands, the fourth team in the group, have lost both their matches and will face Sri Lanka in their last fixture.
Notably, two teams each from Group A and Group B will feature in the Super 12 stage which begins from October 23.