SRI Lanka proved why they are one of the group favourites after opening their 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers account with a thumping 175 runs win over United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Sri Lanka cricket team
After being sent in to bat first, the Asian champions took charge of the match in the first innings after finishing on 355/6 in their 50-overs. They went on to restrict UAE to 180 runs all out in 39 overs to get off their campaign to a flying start.
Sri Lanka’s top four batters all managed to score half centuries with the leading run scorer being Kusal Mendis with 78 runs from 63 deliveries. Another Sri Lankan batter who looked set to go all the way and get a big one was Sadeera Samarawickrama who was run out for 73 runs after facing 64 deliveries.
The other two half centuries from the Sri Lankan innings came from the openers, Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka who scored 52 and 57 runs respectively.
Charith Asalanka also came in handy with the bat, finishing his innings two runs short off his milestone on an unbeaten 48 runs from 23 balls. On a day where it seemed hard to get wickets for UAE bowlers, Ali Naseer finished with the best bowling figures of 2/44 in 10 overs while Rohan Mustafa, Aayan Afzal Khan and Basil Hameed all took one wicket each.
Defending a huge score, there was no trouble for Sri Lankan bowlers who did a stellar job with the ball. The attack was led by the ever-green Wanindu Hasaranga who proved, once again, why he is one of the best bowlers in the world.
The spinner ripped through the UAE batting order to finish with figures of 6/24 in his eight-over spell. The other four wickets that fell were taken by Lahiru Kumara, Maheesh Theekshana, and Dhananjaya De Silva.
The other one wicket was a run out. For his impressive figures with the ball, Hasaranga was named player of the month.
The UAE skipper, Muhammad Waseem led from the front with the bat, top scoring with 39 runs from 48 deliveries before he fell after a brilliant catch from Asalanka. Vriitya Aravinda also made 39 runs, facing 55 balls as they finished as UAE’s leading run getters. Naseer also managed to put some runs on the board with 34 from 32 balls.
In another match that was played at Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC), Oman proved too strong for Ireland with a five wickets win. Batting first, Ireland finished on 281/7 in their 50 overs before Oman went on to chase down the target in 48,1 overs, finishing on 285/5.
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Oman’s Bilal Khan and Fayyaz Butt took two scalps each for 64 and 65 runs respectively in 10 overs while Zeeshan Maqsood, Aayan Khan and Jay Odedra took one scalp each. George Dockrell top scored for Ireland with an unbeaten 91 runs from 89 deliveries while Harry Tector continues his run scoring spree with 52 runs from 82 deliveries.
In their chase, Oman opener, Kashyap Prajapati top scored with 72 runs from 74 balls whereas the seasoned Aqib Ilyas fell after reaching his half century on 52 runs from 49 balls. The skipper, Maqsood also made a half century, finishing on 59 runs off 76 deliveries.
The two matches completed the opening round of games for Group B and action returns tomorrow. At Queens Sports Club, Ireland will face Scotland while Oman will be up against UAE at BAC for the second round of games.