ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Super 12, Group 1, Sri Lanka v Ireland: Kusal Mendis' 68, Wanindu Hasaranga-Maheesh Theekshana's 4-44 and Harry Tector's 45 are top performances. Sri Lanka beat Ireland by 9 wickets and hold 2nd position in Group 1 in points table.
Brief Scores: Ireland 128/8 (Tector 45, Hasaranga 2/25, Theekshana 2/19) lost to Sri Lanka 133/1 (Mendis 68*, Asalanka 31*, Delany 1/28) by 9 wickets
Player of the Match: Kusal Mendis (68* from 43)
Ireland took on former world champions Sri Lanka in the 3rd Group 1 game of Super 12 stage in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. Both these sides are coming to this game on the back of finishing in the top 2 from their respective groups in Round 1 that concluded a couple of days back.
Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie won the toss and opted to bat first, which was surprising given the fact that they have both their games in Round 1, chasing. As expected, Ireland didn’t make any changes to their playing XI, while Sri Lanka were struck by injury to their in-form opener Pathum Nissanka and had to make that forced change. Ashen Bandara replaced Nissanka in the batting order.
Sri Lanka continue to build on their momentum from Round 1
The Lankan lions’ form has been on the upward curve ever since their upset loss against Namibia in the 1st game of Round 1. They brushed aside both the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the next two games and had a dominating outing against Ireland in this Super 12 clash. So, the major talking points of this game has to be the form of Sri Lanka in this tournament.
Ireland’s need their batters to step up if they are to progress further in the Super 12. They had a real bad outing with only Paul Stirling and Harry Tector getting off to a start.
Ireland got off to a slow start with their captain Andy Balbirnie becoming the first man to get out in trying to be over-aggressive. He attempted to play a needless stroke off pacer Lahiru Kumara and in the process, getting bowled for just 1. The in-form Lorcan Tucker was the next to get dismissed, this time off Maheesh Theekshana and thanks to Paul Stirling blitz Ireland could manage 40 runs in the powerplay.
However, their momentum was really halted when Stirling and Curtis Campher fell in back-to-back overs and the scorecard read 60/4 at the end of 10 overs. From then on, run making was really difficult with Harry Tector (45 from 42) trying his best to accelerate but couldn’t force the pace. Sri Lankan spinners and pacers kept it real tight in the second half of the innings and restricted the Irish total to just 128/8. Spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Theekshana took 2 wickets apiece.
Sri Lankan batters coast to an easy win over Ireland
Chasing a meagre total of 129 to register their first win in the Super 12 stage, Sri Lanka got off to flying start with in-form Kusal Mendis getting a new partner in Dhananjaya de Silva. They made the best use of the powerplay fielding restrictions and scored 50 runs in the first six overs. The duo’s 63-run partnership off 50 balls was broken when Gerath Delany caught de Silva’s edge when the batter was on 31.
Despite losing the wicket of de Silva, the solid foundation meant Sri Lanka batters cantered through the run-chase without breaking much sweat as Mendis (68* from 43) registered yet another half-century (2nd in 2 games) as the Lions swept aside Ireland by 9 wickets to register a comfortable win with 5 overs to spare. Charith Asalanka (31* off 22) too played a helping hand in the unbroken 70-run stand with Kusal Mendis.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the game between Ireland and Sri Lanka in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
Spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga rattle Ireland batting order with a combined spell of 4/44
The unorthodox off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana once again showed his might bowling a tight spell in Sri Lanka’s opening Super 12 game. He continued to be among the wickets in this tournament taking an important scalp of Lorcan Tucker in the powerplay and not giving rest of the Ireland batters an inch in the powerplay overs. Theekshana followed his great start by coming back towards the end of the innings by breaking a growing stand Harry Tector and George Dockrell by removing the latter for 14.
Wanindu Hasaranga, the 3rd-ranked T20I bowler bowled just a solitary over in the first half of the innings and had to wait till the end overs to get another one. But like always, he made the batters to go against him to the bigger side of the ground and got his reward picking two wickets in his final over. He ended with figures of 2/25 from his 4 overs.
All the other bowlers chipped in with wickets at crucial junctures and had a leash over the Ireland batters throughout the course of the innings. In the end, the men in green could manage only 128/8 in their allotted 20 overs.
Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva’s opening stand takes Sri Lanka to pole position
After playing a match-winning knock in Sri Lanka’s last Round 1 game against the Netherlands, Kusal Mendis continued his good form by giving the island nation yet another good start along with Dhananjaya de Silva. The pair scored at a fast pace in the powerplays, making 50 runs without losing a wicket. They made sure Sri Lanka didn’t allow even a slightest of opportunity for Ireland to get back into the game.
Kusal Mendis continued the good work with Charith Asalanka and didn’t allow the momentum to shift back towards Ireland. He registered his second 50+ score in this world cup and helped Sri Lanka win by 9 wickets.
Harry Tector’s 45 ensure Ireland had something to bowl at
Ireland had a poor day on the field in all the departments of the game against Sri Lanka. After a great upset win over West Indies which ensured their path to Super 12, Ireland lost their way with bat in hand. Wickets fell at regular intervals and most of their top-order batsman just threw their wickets away.
Only Harry Tector attempted to build on a score but didn’t find it easy due to a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling effort and the fact that he didn’t have partners to support from the other end. Eventually, he had to go after making a scratchy 45. But it was needed as it gave their bowlers something to bowl at.
ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 Group 1 Points Table
What's Next for Ireland and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka will next face a tough opponent in the form of hosts Australia in Perth on October 25 and will be hoping to continue their good run in this tournament.
Ireland will have another challenge on their hands when they take on a strong England side at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on October 26.