Hasaranga takes 6-24 as Sri Lanka thrash UAE by 175 runs


Sadeera Samarawickrama and Kusal Mendis led a quartet of half-centuries from Sri Lanka as they dominated UAE and enjoyed a winning start to their World Cup Qualifier campaign in Zimbabwe.

Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka also struck fifties as Sri Lanka posted 355-6. Their attack was without Dushmantha Chameera, who was sidelined with a shoulder strain, but Wanindu Hasaranga bagged career-best List A figures of 6-24 to wreck UAE’s chase.

Maheesh Theekshana and Dhananjaya de Silva backed Hasaranga up as UAE were rolled over for 180 in 39 overs.

All-rounder Ali Naseer stood out amid the UAE rubble, following up his sharp spell of 2-44 in his 10 overs with a sprightly cameo. Since making his ODI debut against West Indies earlier this month in Sharjah, Naseer has made scores of 58, 57, 13, and 34 in four innings in addition to fronting up to bowl the difficult overs.

On Monday, Sri Lanka’s top four saw him off and lined up the other bowlers. Mendis treated wrist-spinner Karthik Meiyappan with contempt, taking him for 36 off 18 balls.

Having sussed out that Meiyappan was repeatedly dipping into his wrong’un and not threatening the stumps enough, Mendis attacked him with a variety of sweeps. Contrastingly, Hasaranga and Theekshana didn’t give up the stumps and didn’t give UAE’s batters as many chances to employ the sweep.

Samarawickrama also played a number of inventive strokes during his 64-ball 73, the pick of them being a ramped four off Naseer in the 44th over. Samarawickrama had initially shaped to scoop the ball over short fine leg, but Naseer shifted his line even wider of off.

Samarawickrama was so switched on that he changed his shot at the last instant and ramped it over wicketkeeper Vriitya Aravind. He had forged a 105-run partnership for the third wicket with Mendis off 77 balls, which formed the cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s innings.

Before they had got together, Nissanka and Kartunaratne had also done their bit by countering the early-morning swing and seam movement. Karunaratne was the more fluent of the two openers and was responsible for six of the nine fours Sri Lanka had scored in the powerplay.

But Sri Lanka had to wait until the 48th over for their first six. Charith Asalanka injected greater urgency into the innings when he shanked Muhammad Jawadullah over wide long-on for six. Then in the next over, he launched Rohan Mustafa for another imposing six. Hasaranga joined the hitting spree in the final over, thumping Zahoor Khan for three fours off four balls.

Hasaranga then ran rings around UAE in their chase, though some of their players have played with – or against – Hasaranga during the inaugural ILT20. They struggled to pick his wrong’un in particular as the wristspinner went on to record his maiden five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

“He [Hasaranga] is world-class, one of the best bowlers in the world right now,” Aravind said at his post-match press conference. “We did look at videos and tried to analyse what he does. But of course once you are playing it, it is a different story. Credit to him, he bowled really well today.”

Naseer aside, UAE captain Muhammad Waseem (39) and vice-captain Aravind (39) were the only batters to pass 30 in the chase.

When the two teams last met at the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022, Meiyappan picked up a hat-trick, and overshadowed Hasaranga, who was his senior during his IPL stint as a net bowler at Royal Challengers Bangalore.

On Monday, it was Hasaranga, the master, who bossed his protégé and UAE. (ESPNcricinfo)

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