Hasaranga Heroics Guides SL to Super 12
By Anjana Kaluarachchi reporting from Abu Dhabi
Wanindu Hasaranga’s counter attacking 71 and a century stand with Pathum Nissanka (61) helped Sri Lanka to overcome early hiccups and beat Ireland by 70 runs in the second game of the ICC T20 World Cup round one played in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
In doing so, Sri Lanka also ensured they are through to the super 12 round of the tournament regardless of the outcome of the next match, which is to be played in Sharjah against Netherlands tomorrow (22). After Sri Lanka was propelled to 171 for 7 from 3 down for 8 in the 3rd over, the bowlers kept things tight to restrict the Irish for just 101 in 18.3 overs. Both pacemen, Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara, started their overs with 146 kmph deliveries, while even Chamika Karunarathne bowled with pace over 140 kmph, which made life difficult for the Irish batsmen.
Sri Lanka’s hero Hasaranga struck in his first over, and a wicket each by Karunarathne and Maheesh Theekshana left Ireland 3 down for 41 after the power play despite a dropped catch by Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the first over itself, and a misjudged catching attempt by Karunarathne which went for six since his feet touched the rope. Skipper Andy Balbirnie and Curtis Campher added 53 for the fourth wicket trying to keep the chase on course, but Theekshana bowled Campher ending any Irish dream of victory, as SL bowlers made inroads with Theekshana finishing with his second consecutive three wickets haul, while Lahiru Kumara claimed two.
Hasaranga as usual kept things tight with 1 for 12 in his four overs on top of his half century, while Chameera claimed 1 for 16 and Karunarathne 2 for 27 to finish things off. Sri Lanka dropped three chances in the field - Bhanuka, Karunarathne and Chameera - but bowlers made sure those were not going to be costly for Sri Lanka in the end. Earlier, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva stood tall when the chips were down, as he changed Sri Lanka’s fortunes around with a career best 71, and together with Pathum Nissanka (61) the pair guided Sri Lanka to post 171-7.
Sri Lanka’s top order woes continued as Kusal Perera lasted just two deliveries against Paul Stirling. Then came Josh Little who bowled Dinesh Chandimal for 06 and in form Avishka Fernando for a golden duck, leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 11 for 3 after the first three overs. Then came Hasaranga - who was promoted to number five - and he led the counter attack with four fours against Simi Singh, as the next three overs of the powerplay yielded 36 runs.
Nissanka played the anchor role as Hasaranga continued to attack, mostly on the off side by making room, and several times smashing over extra cover, over midoff and point, where the Irish bowlers had no answer. Hasaranga’s innings came in 47 deliveries which saw ten fours and a six, with his fifty coming in 38 deliveries.
Nissanka brought up his fifty in 37 deliveries as the pair added 123 off 82 for the fourth wicket, Sri Lanka’s highest in T20s, which turned the game around. Sri Lanka posted 130 after the 15th over, but once Hasaranga departed their run rate declined, though skipper Dasun Shanaka’s 21 off 11 helped them score 41 off the last five to post 171 for 7, a score which seemed impossible after being 8 for 3 in the third over.