T20 World Cup result: Sri Lanka through to Super 12s after Ireland drubbing
Sri Lanka have booked their place in the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 after a completing 70-run win over Ireland.
The Dasun Shanaka-led side made it two wins out of two in Round 1 of the T20 World Cup with a nearly complete performance against Ireland.
Sri Lanka had to recover from a nightmare start after being put in to bat first as Ireland ripped through the top order.
In just the second ball of the match, Gareth Delany took a brilliant low catch just inches off the ground to send Kusal Perera packing. It was Paul Stirling’s golden arm that did the magic, getting rid of the dangerous Perera for a first-baller.
At the other end, Josh Little made the new ball talk, getting it to move back into the right-hander to cause off sorts of trouble. He first cramped Dinesh Chandimal for room, forcing him to cut a delivery that was too close to the body, only to chop on.
Little was on a hat-trick after he dismissed Avishka Fernando with a peach of a ball that nipped back just enough to hit the top of off stump, a dream delivery for any left-arm pacer.
Wanindu Hasaranga was pushed up the order to accelerate the scoring in the Powerplay and the move worked wonders. The last two overs of the fielding restrictions fetched Sri Lanka 30 runs, with Hasaranga smacking Simi Singh for four consecutive boundaries off the last four balls.
Nissanka and Hasaranga kept the scoreboard ticking, bringing up their 50-run partnership in just 37 balls.
Revived from the drinks break, the two batters continued to take the attack to the Irish bowlers. Hasaranga, in particular, was brutal, putting away anything that was remotely in his arc. The two batters continued their onslaught and got to their maiden T20I fifties.
Ireland finally got some respite thanks to Mark Adair. Throwing his bat at everything cost Hasaranga, as an attempted slice went straight to Craig Young at short third.
The men in green pulled it back in the death with regular wickets. Little returned for the final two overs of his spell and picked up a wicket each in the two overs, including that of Nissanka, to finish with 4/23.
A flurry in the end from Shanaka, who scored an unbeaten 21 off just 11, set a target of 172 for Ireland to chase down.
Sri Lanka bowlers stand up
After the Sri Lankan batters rescued the team from 8/3, it was the turn of the bowlers to put their hands up. Ireland’s opening stand lasted all of six balls as Kevin O’Brien once again failed to get his team off to start. Chamika Karunaratne struck in the final ball of his over after O’Brien top-edged the short ball to Theekshana at short fine.
Paul Stirling couldn’t make much of the lifeline in the first over after being dropped by Bhanuka Rajapaksa. After hitting Theekshana for a four in the previous ball, his sweep went straight to Lahiru Kumara at short fine, who jumbled the ball before completing the catch.
After having done the damage with the ball, Hasaranga was thrown the ball in the fourth over and made an instant impact, outfoxing the hard-hitting Gareth Delany with a googly that stayed low.
The hat-trick hero from the previous game, Curtis Campher, smashed two fours in the last over of the Powerplay to make the scorecard look a little better for Ireland. Skipper Andy Balbirnie and Campher ensured that Ireland went into the drinks break with no further losses, though it came at the cost of the required rate climbing over 10.
Ireland did manage to take their score past the 100-run mark but succumbed to their first defeat of the tournament as they went from 85/3 to 101 all out. Sri Lanka bagged the two points but more importantly, received a massive boost to their net run rate with a huge margin of victory.
Sri Lanka face already eliminated the Netherlands on Friday while Ireland and Namibia will play what is effectively a knockout game with a place in the Super 12s on offer for the victors.
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