Sri Lanka 152 for 8 (Nissanka 74, Zahoor 2-26) beat UAE 73 (Aayan 19, Chameera 3-15, Hasaranga 3-8, Theekshana 2-15) by 79 runs
Although Sri Lanka’s was merely a competitive rather than commanding total, their bowlers defended the total zealously, the quicks eviscerating UAE’s top order, before the spinners scythed through the middle. UAE never seemed to have the measure of the chase, going from 21 for 4 to 42 for 7, and eventually 73 all out.
Meiyappan had been good in his first two overs, conceding just 14. But in the third, he upended Sri Lanka’s innings. To Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was desperate to find his first boundary, Meiyappan bowled it flat and wide, the batter reaching for the ball, hitting over extra cover, and finding the fielder in the deep.
Then came two stunning googlies. The first was to left-hander Charith Asalanka, who prodded forward and sent an outside edge to the keeper. The second to Dasun Shanaka, who did not pick the variation at all, and in his attempt to block the hat-trick ball, left a gap between bat and pad, which Meiyappan’s delivery wriggled through, to hit the stumps.
Nissanka’s slow burn
Nissanka started steadily, hitting three fours to get to 25 off 17 in the powerplay. He was the only batter to hit a boundary off Meiyappan, in the middle overs, pounding him over cow corner for six (though he top-edged Meiyappan in the next over, only for the ball to fall in between three fielders).
He reached his half century only off the 45th ball he faced, but was excellent through the late overs, when Sri Lanka desperately needed fireworks. His six over midwicket and four through long-off in the 19th over, off Junaid Siddique, helped inject some energy into a flagging innings. In the end, he holed out off the penultimate ball, having held Sri Lanka’s innings together with his 74 off 64 balls.