ANI Photo | World Cup Qualifier: Sri Lanka gets better of UAE to kick off campaign on winning note

Sri Lanka outclassed UAE in their campaign opener of the World Cup 2023 Qualifier on Monday at the Queens Sports Club.
The Sri Lankan top order struck half-centuries to set the tone of the game and a big total of 355/6. Charith Asalanka and Wanindu Hasaranga’s last-minute strikes served as icing to the cake to register the biggest first innings score of the tournament so far.
UAE’s got off to a steady start until Lahiru Kumara pulled off a smart caught and bowled to dismiss UAE opener Rohan Mustafa for a score of 12.
Hasaranga came into the attack displaying his prowess as a spinner, he picked up three wickets in the span of two overs, removing Muhammad Waseem (39), Basil Hameed (0) and Asif Khan (8) to hand Sri Lanka a firm grip on victory.
Contributions from Vriitya Aravind who matches his captain’s top score of 39 ensured it was a respectable effort with the bat for UAE.
A decent partnership between Rameez Shahzad (26) and Naseer (34) made Sri Lanka wait for the inevitable win.
Maheesh Theekshana was brought into the action to clean up Naseer, and Hasaranga with his magic finished the game by picking up two wickets in two balls bowling out UAE for a score of 180 in 39 overs.
Hasaranga finished the game with exceptional figures of 6/24 in eight overs.
Earlier in the game, UAE won the toss and elected to bowl.
Put to bat first, the returning Karunaratne repaid Sri Lanka’s trust to bring him back into the ODI squad. In conditions that offered a bit of movement for the pacers, Karunaratne’s solid technique showed its worth as he picked up boundaries in the powerplay to settle the nerves.
At the other end, Pathum Nissanka struggled to get runs from his bat. However, his initial struggle paid off as he struck back-to-back boundaries off Muhammad Jawadullah in the fifth over to get his score ticking.
The openers kept the flow of runs intact and Karunaratne brought up his third consecutive fifty but ended up losing his wicket in the very next over. The opening pair added 95 runs for the first wicket partnership, ending the early period where conditions were in favour of the bowlers.
Nissanka reached the 50-run landmark with Kusal Mendis on the other side as Sri Lanka put up 133/1 at the halfway stage of the first innings.
The flow of runs accelerated drastically through the second half of the innings.
Mendis hit ten fours in his knock of 78, and his 105-run partnership with Sadeera Samarawickrama fired Sri Lanka towards a big target.
Mendis lost his wicket to Ali Naseer, and Samarawickrama was run out on 73 which give the UAE hope of restricting the score to a certain extent in the final six overs.
But Asalanka had some other idea, he struck boundary after boundary in a brilliant batting display. He remained unbeaten with 48* off just 23 balls.
Wanindu Hasaranga also played a short cameo of 23*, he struck three boundaries in the final over to help post a score of 355/6.
The young Naseer justified his pick with standout figures of 2/44 off ten overs – comfortably the best on show.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 355/6 (Kusal Mendis 78(63), Samarawickrama 73(64) and Ali Naseer 2/44) vs UAE 180 (Muhammad Waseem 39(48), Vriitya Aravind 39 (55) and Wanindu Hasaranga 6/24). (ANI)

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