Wanindu Hasaranga (71 off 47 balls) and Pethum Nissanka (61 off 47 balls) staged a wonderful counter-attack to take Sri Lanka to 171/7 in 20 overs against Ireland in a Group A match of Round 1 in the ICC men’s T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Wednesday.
Hasaranga and Nissanka had a partnership of 123 for the fourth wicket, rescuing Sri Lanka after being 8/3 in the first 10 balls of the match. Skipper Dasun Shanaka’s cameo of 21 off just 11 balls in the back end of the innings took Sri Lanka past the 170-run mark. For Ireland, Josh Little was the pick of the six bowlers, finishing with career-best figures of 4/23.
Put into bat first, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera without troubling the scorers on the second ball of the innings. In the next over, pacer Joshua Little bowled Dinesh Chandimal (6) and Avishka Fernando on back-to-back deliveries to put Sri Lanka in deep trouble at 8 for three in 1.4 overs.
From there, Hasaranga and Nissanka staged an excellent fightback for Sri Lanka, stitching a 123-run partnership in 82 balls. Hasaranga was more aggressive of the two, smashing off-spinner Simi Singh for four consecutive boundaries in the final over of power-play.
Their counter-attack coupled with exquisite shots rattled Ireland, who resorted to bowling wider lines and got dispatched for runs. Hasaranga brought up his maiden T20I half-century with 38 balls with a brace off Craig Young in the 13th over. Nissanka brought up his half-century in the 16th over. But on the very next ball, a visibly exhausted Hasaranga sliced to short third man off Mark Adair.
Though Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Chamika Karunaratne fell cheaply, Nissanka struck two more boundaries before toe-ending behind to the keeper to become Little’s fourth scalp of the day. Dasun Shanaka then struck a six and four on the last two balls of the innings to take Sri Lanka beyond 170.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 171/7 in 20 overs (Wanindu Hasaranga 71, Pethum Nissanka 61, Josh Little 4/23, Mark Adair 2/35) against Ireland.