Abu Dhabi: Sri Lanka have qualified for the ICC T20 World Cup Super 12s stage with a 70-run win over Ireland here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The Lankans wrapped up Ireland’s innings for 101 while defending 172. Ireland will now face Namibia on October 20. The winner of this match will become the second team to make it through in the next stage from this group.
Earlier, Wanindu Hasaranga and Pathum Nissanka hit half-centuries to help Sri Lanka post 171-7 after early setbacks.
Invited to bat in the first-round match, Sri Lanka were in trouble at 8-3 in the second over when Hasaranga (71) and Nissanka (61) put on key stand of 123 in Abu Dhabi.
Paul Stirling claimed the wicket of Kusal Perera for nought on the second ball of the innings and soon Joshua Little took two in two to send back Dinesh Chandimal and Avishka Fernando.
Hasaranga, an allrounder who bowls leg-spin, took the attack to the opposition with four straight boundaries off spinner Simi Singh to lay the foundation for Sri Lanka’s challenging total.
He raised his maiden T20 international fifty in 38 balls and kept up the charge to punish the Ireland bowlers, including a towering six before falling to Mark Adair.
Nissanka was equally efficient and also recorded his first fifty in the shortest international format as he hit six fours and one six in his 47-ball knock.
Little returned impressive figures of 4-23 — his T20 best — including Nissanka’s scalp from his four overs of left-arm pace.
Adair claimed his 50th T20I wicket before Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka finished the innings with a six and a four in his unbeaten 21 off 11 balls.
In return, Sri Lankan bowlers, led by spinner Maheesh Theekshana, completely bamboozled Irish batting. He returned figures of 3-17 while Lahiru Kumara and Chamika Karunaratne claimed two wickets each.
Ireland skipper Andre Balbirnie contributed 41 off 39 while Curtis Campher made 24 off 28 balls. Hasaranga was awarded player of the match for scoring 71 and claiming one wicket.