Sent into bat after losing the toss, Sri Lanka got off to a great start and were in command at 92 for 1 in the 12th over. However, UAE leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan claimed a hat-trick to reduce Sri Lanka to 117 for 5. He dismissed Bhanuka Rajapaksa (5), Charith Asalanka (0) and Dasun Shanaka (0) off successive deliveries to complete a memorable hat-trick.
Pathum Nissanka then ensured that Sri Lanka finished with a decent total 152 for 8. He scored a superb 74 off only 60 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes. Dhananjaya de Silva also contributed 33 off 21. For UAE, Meiyappan ended with figures of 3 for 19, while Zahoor Khan finished with 2 for 26.
At the halfway stage, UAE might have harbored hopes of pulling off yet another upset in the ongoing T20 World Cup. However, it was not to be as Sri Lankan bowlers dominated proceedings to bundle out UAE for 73 in 17.1 overs. It all began with Dushmantha Chameera (3/15) cleaning up Muhammad Waseem (2) Aryan Lakra (1) in his first over. Things just went downhill for UAE from there.
Wanindu Hasaranga ran through the middle and lower-order with figures of 3 for 15, while Maheesh Theekshana also helped himself to a couple of wickets. Aayan Afzal Khan top-scored for UAE with 19, while Junaid Siddique scored 18. Chirag Suri (14) was the only other batter to reach double figures in the innings.
Speaking after the much-needed win, Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka said he was really disappointed with the way they ended the innings with the bat. He stated, “We could have scored 180-190. The tone was set upfront, but Bhanu (Bhanuka Rajapaksa) and I didn't click. It was important to tick with a win, we focused on a win only. He (Pathum Nissanka ) is outstanding, his focus is to bat through the innings. I'm happy for him.”
Reflecting on the defeat, UAE skipper Chundangapoyil Rizwan said that they restricted Lanka to a decent score, but couldn’t come up with the goods with the bat. “Our batsmen couldn't get going. They (Sri Lanka) showed their experience. We have to work on our skills and try to come back with a better show. (On Meiyappan) He bowled beautifully. To get a hat-trick in a WC is special. He's a special bowler.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent