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Sri Lanka remain alive in WC competition by crushing UAE

Sri Lanka bounced back from their defeat to Namibia with a thorough rout of the UAE by a 79-run margin on Tuesday which keep them alive in the T20 World Cup competition with their first points.

On an evening where it took Pathum Nissanka’s 74 off 60 to drag the team past the 150-run mark, Sri Lanka flexed their bowling might to bundle out the UAE for just 73.

UAE’s 22-year-old legspinner Karthik Meiyappan gave his side hope in the first innings with a fine hattrick but it proved insignificant in the end as their batters failed in chase.

Medium pacer Kashif Daud got the ball to swing away but his lines were ordinary as Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka pounced on them with a breezy start full of cover drives and cuts. The pair added 37 off just four overs before the UAE captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan unfurled a trick. Against the two right-handers, he brought on left-arm spinner Aryan Lakhra, who struck right away by trapping Mendis for 18 off 13.

Sri Lanka’s opening batter and the one-drop combined to steady the innings with a 50-run stand during, as the duo took on the slower bowlers through the middle-overs. Just when it looked like a stand that would carry Sri Lanka to a big total, a poor call between the wickets brought the UAE a wicket against the run of play. Dhananjaya, who had made a fiery start, had to trudge back for 33 off 21 because of a run out.

Leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan turned the tables completely in the space of three deliveries in the 15th over. He tossed up a full and wide ball first, enticing Bhanuka Rajapaksa to go big and hole out to deep cover. Charith Asalanka was welcomed with a googly that he didn’t read and ended up nicking behind to the keeper. Meiyappan saved his best for the last of his hattrick as Dasun Shanaka was flummoxed with a loopy googly that travelled through the bat-pad gap to castle the stumps and send Meiyappan on a victory run.

Nissanka’s innings wasn’t as quick as he would’ve liked, as he got to his half-century only in 45 deliveries. But in the phase post the hattrick, he took it upon himself to give Sri Lanka a strong finish. Sri Lanka smashed 26 in two overs (18th and 19th) with 20 off them coming from Nissanka’s bat. Despite Zahoor Khan bowling a good over in the 20th and giving away just three, Sri Lanka finished with 152 for 8. Nissanka made 74 off 60 balls.

Rizwan opted to field in this game in the anticipation of dew making its presence felt when his team had to bat. But even before that could happen, Sri Lanka’s quicks dismantled UAE’s top-order, and thus, the chase.

Dushmantha Chameera fueled the UAE procession as he knocked back the stumps of Muhammad Waseem and Aryan in the third over. Rizwan then played an uppish drive an over later, straight to mid-off, giving Chameera his third wicket. Pramod Madushan chipped in, in the last over of the PowerPlay with a full delivery on the legs to uproot Chirag Suri’s stumps. The UAE were down to 23 for 4 in 6 overs.

Introduction of the spinners and Dasun Shanaka’s gentle medium pace did not bring respite for UAE. Shanaka first got Basil Hameed to flick a full, innocuous delivery to midwicket in the ninth over. Hasaranga then ended Vriitya Aravind’s struggles in the middle with an LBW that needed to be reviewed to get ruled in Sri Lanka’s favour. Hasaranga then foxed Kashif Daud with a quicker googly, trapping him to leg before. At 42 for 7, in the 12th over, the writing was already on the wall for the UAE.

Maheesh Theekshana had the first-innings hero Meiyappan stumped and Hasaranga picked up a third in the 15th by cleaning up Afzal Khan to finish with exceptional figures of 3 for 8. That pushed UAE to 56 for 9.

UAE’s No.10 batter came out all guns blazing, and extended his stay till the 18th over, much to the chagrin of Sri Lanka. Shanaka brought back Chameera to end the innings, only for Siddique to smash a short ball out of the ground for the biggest six of the tournament. Siddique attempted to go after Theekshana too and perished in the 18th over – not before he got 18, UAE’s best individual effort in the game.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 152/8 (Pathum Nissanka 74, Dhananjaya de Silva 33; Karthik Meiyappan 3-19, Zahoor Khan 2-26) beat UAE 73 in 17.1 overs (Junaid Siddique 18; Wanindu Hasaranga 3-8, Dushmantha Chameera 3-15, Pramod Madushan 2-15) by 79 runs.