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Game 8 of the T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka were up against Ireland, both sides won their respective openers. Ireland were on a roll early but Sri Lanka’s counterattack had Ireland blown away but towards the end with a few tight overs staged a mini comeback but the destruction was done. Sri Lanka with the ball build pressure and forced Ireland a collapse.

Ireland won the toss and opt to bowl first. IRELAND’S XI : Paul Stirling, Kevin O Brien, Andrew Balbirnie(C), Gareth Delany, Curtis Campher, Harry Tector, Neil Rock(wk), Simi Singh, Mark Adair, Joshua Little, Craig Young.

SRI LANKA’S XI : Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera(w), Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka(c), Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara.

Ireland were on a roll with the ball, Paul Stirling opened the bowling and handed Kusal Perera a golden duck. Joshua Little from the other end picked up 2 in 2 as Chandimal on 6(6) made his way back and an absolute ripper dismissed Avishka Fernando on 0(1), Wanindu Hasaranga denied a hat-trick to Little and Sri Lanka were 8-3. Mark Adair and Simi Singh were introduced into the attack to close the powerplay but Nissanka and Hasaranga smashed the Irish bowlers and with overs of 13 and 17 runs finished powerplay on 47-3. Sri Lanka snatched momentum and built on, a couple more big overs helped Sri Lanka get to 78-3 at halfway stage. 100 was on board for Sri Lanka in the 13th over and Hasaranga too got to his maiden T20I 50*. Flurry of boundaries from both ends, Nissanka following Hasaranga’s footprints got to his 50* but the unbelievable 123(82) run partnership saw curtains as Hasaranga on a brilliant 71(47) made his way back. Nissanka continued to punish but Little struck his 3rd as Rajapaksa on 1(3) walked back. The run rate saw a dip and Nissanka on 61(47) made his way back looking to accelerate a bit more and Little had his 4th. Mark Adair bowling the final over of the innings picked up Karunaratne on 2(3) but conceded boundaries on the last two deliviers, Dasun Shanaka’s cameo of 21(11) helped Sri Lanka finish strong with a 172 on board.

Wanindu Hasaranga (left) and Pathum Nissanka with fiery individual fifties got Sri Lanka to finish big on 172 after being 3 down for 8.

Ireland towards the end did manage a mini comeback that restricted Sri Lanka from a real strong finish. Paul Stirling in his one with economy of 4 bagged a wicket. Joshua Little in his 4 with economy of 5.8 bagged 4 wickets and Craig Young in his 4 bowled well with economy of 6 but wasn’t rewarded with a wicket. Curtis Campher had nothing special on show, Simi Singh and Mark Adair were smashed in their first overs but did comeback and finish well.

Joshua Little, a standout with the ball for Ireland. Recorded figures of 4-24 in his 4.

Ireland in reply lost early wickets as Karunaratne in his final ball of the first over picked up Kevin O Brien on 5(3). Maheesh Theekshana in his first over picked up the big wicket of Stirling on 7(7) and Ireland managed a odd boundary and a few runs before Hasaranga bowled Gareth Delany on 2(4). Curtis Campher and Andrew Balbirnie hung in and scored a few boundaries that saw Ireland finsih powerplay on 41-3. Ireland rebuild and managed a couple big overs that got them to 65-3 at halfway mark. The need was to accelerate and Sri Lanka got spinners bowling from both ends that saw Theekshana bag his second as Curtis on 24(28) made his way back and the 53 run partnership saw curtains. Ireland crumbled as they lost many wickets in a cluster, Harry Tector on 3(6) and Neil Rock on 1(3) made their way back before Mark Adair on 2(3) was ran out. Set batter, Balbirnie was falling short of partners on the other end but was next to departed, walked back on 41(39). Low scores continued as Craig Young on 1(6) made his way back and Little on 1(3) was the last wicket to fall. From 85-4 Sri Lanka reduced Ireland to 101-10 in just 5 overs of play. Ireland face a big defeat as Sri Lanka with a comprehensive 70 run margin script a win and book a spot in the super 12.

Skipper, Andrew Balbirnie top scored for his side with 41(39) in a losing cause.

Sri Lanka with ball in hand were brilliant to watch. Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana and Lahiru Kumara bowled their complete spell of 4 with economies at and under 5.5 and shared 6 wickets between them, 1,3 and 2 respectively. Dushmantha Chameera in his 3 bagged a wicket with economy just over 5. Chamika Karunaratne in his 3.3 bagged a couple of wickets with good economy rate.

Maheesh Theekshana continues to impress, registered figures 3-17 in 4.

Ireland disappoint, first with the ball got Sri Lanka 3 down for 8 but let momentum drift and Sri Lanka went on posting 172. Ireland in reply were defensive and the pressure build saw team crumble and face a horror collapse. Sri Lanka with a comprehensive win make it 2 in 2 and march ahead with confidence.

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