Hobart [Australia], October 23 (ANI): Despite suffering a 9-wickets defeat, Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie heaped praise on Sri Lankan bowlers and said the Lankan side bowled well and added that they knew spin was a big threat.
A dominant batting display from Sri Lanka’s top-order batters helped them seal a clinical nine-wicket over Ireland in the Super-12 encounter of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022 at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart on Sunday.
Both Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga claimed two wickets as Sri Lanka trounced Ireland in their Super-12 opener.
“We knew that spin was a big threat, it wasn’t turning big, but they bowled well and we’re disappointed. Fell well short after batting first, never really in the game from thereon. We knew that spin on a used wicket was a threat. so we backed ourselves to bat first,” Andrew Balbirnie said in a post-match presentation.
Talking about Harry Tectors’s blistering knock of 45 runs, the Ireland skipper called him their in-form star and a top player.
“He is one of our top players (on Harry Tector), the in-form player in the middle-order, especially in the 50-over format.
Speaking about their next match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Ireland captain said they’re looking forward to the pressure that comes with playing at the venue.
“A lot of us wouldn’t have played at that venue (at the MCG), one of the biggest in the world, a great city and we’ll look to enjoy the pressure. Had a great time over here and am thankful for all the support,” he added.
Ireland opting to bat first, put up a sub-par 128/8 in their 20 overs. Harry Tector (45) and Paul Stirling (34) were the top scorers for Ireland. A 47-run partnership between Tector and George Dockrell (14) proved to be an inning-saver for the Irish.
The spin duo of Maheesh Theekshana (2/19) and Wanindu Hasaranga (2/25) were the picks of the bowlers for Sri Lanka. Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamika Karunaratne picked up a wicket each for their side.
Chasing 129, Sri Lanka got off to a cracking start, with openers Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva putting on a 63-run stand. The Asian champions got to the target without many issues, with Mendis hitting an unbeaten 68 off 43 balls.
De Silva hit 31 off 25 balls and Charith Asalanka scored an unbeaten 31 off 22 balls. Kusal got the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his brilliant half-century. (ANI)
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