Sri Lanka’s top-order batters slammed half-centuries while leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took a brilliant six-wicket haul to get the 1996 champions being their Men’s ODI World Cup qualifiers campaign with a massive 175-win over United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday.

Sri Lanka amassed a big total of 355/6, with the top four of Pathum Nissanka (57), Dimuth Karunaratne (52), Sadeera Samarawickrama (73) and top-scorer Kusal Mendis (78) being the main contributors.

In defence, Hasaranga removed three of the UAE’s top five batters and went on to take 6-24 in a convincing victory for Sri Lanka. In the process, Hasaranga also recorded the third-best bowling figures by any Sri Lanka bowler and reached 50 wickets in the format too as UAE were bowled out for 180 in 39 overs.

In conditions which had a bit of movement on offer for the pacers, Karunaratne’s solid technique came in handy as he gathered six boundaries in the Powerplay with immaculate ease.

On the other end, Nissanka struggled to get runs flowing from his bat. But he got past that initial period to hit back-to-back boundaries off Muhammad Jawadullah in the fifth over to get his innings going.

From there, Nissanka and Karunaratne kept the scoreboard ticking and, in the process, the latter brought up his third consecutive fifty. But he fell in the very next over as the 95-run partnership for the first wicket was ended by Ayaan Afzal Khan.

Joining hands with Mendis to build on the foundation, Nissanka too reached the 50-run landmark as Sri Lanka reached a comfortable 133/1 at the halfway stage of their innings.

After Nissanka fell, Mendis marched forward to hit ten fours in his classy 63-ball 78, and his 105-run partnership with Samarawickrama fired Sri Lanka towards a big total.

Sri Lanka faced some trouble when Mendis holed out to the substitute fielder off Ali Naseer, while Samarawickrama was run out to give UAE hope of restricting the scoring in the final six overs. But Asalanka had other ideas, unleashing boundary after boundary in a brilliant display of finishing to be 48 not out off just 23 balls, while Hasaranga hit three boundaries in the final over to finish with a score above 350.

In reply, UAE got off to a steady start until Lahiru Kumara pulled off a smart caught and bowled dismissal to remove open Rohan Mustafa for 12. Hasaranga arrived to remove Muhammad Waseem (39), Basil Hameed (0) and Asif Khan (8) in two overs to put Sri Lanka in complete control of the match.

After Vriitya Aravind was trapped lbw by Dhananjaya de Silva, Rameez Shahzad (26) and Naseer (34) hung around for some resistance. But Maheesh Theekshana cleaned up Naseer, and Hasaranga took two wickets in two balls as UAE’s last five wickets fell for 13 runs.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 355/6 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 78, Sadeera Samarawickrama 73, Ali Naseer 2-44) beat UAE 180 all out in 39 overs (Muhammad Waseem 39, Vriitya Aravind 39, Wanindu Hasaranga 6-24) by 175 runs

In the second game, Kashyap Prajapati, Aqib Ilyas and captain Zeeshan Maqsood struck half-centuries as Oman made the first upset victory of the Men’s ODI World Cup qualifiers by chasing down 282 against a much-fancied Ireland with five wickets in hand and 11 balls to spare at the Bulawayo Athletic Club on Monday.

The five-wicket victory over Ireland is Oman’s first-ever victory over a Test nation in an ODI, triggering jubilant scenes in the team dugout as the gulf nation completed their highest-ever successful run chase in the format, throwing Group B wide open.

A flurry of lower-order runs took Ireland to 281/7, with George Dockrell slamming a career-best 91 while Harry Tector made 52, though the side played a whopping 157 dot balls in their innings.

In reply, Oman chased their target down in style, thanks to efforts from Prajapati, Ilyas and Maqsood in a largely unbothered chase, followed by Mohammad Nadeem (46 not out), Ayaan Khan (21) and Shoaib Khan (19 not out) finishing off the proceedings in style.

Batting first, Andy McBrine and Paul Stirling hit a boundary each in the second over that set the ball rolling for Ireland and found the boundaries with ease for most of the Powerplay. Just when the duo looked set for a big opening partnership after adding 51 runs in nine overs, the short-ball ploy bought their downfall in consecutive deliveries.

Stirling holed out to deep backward square-leg off a pull shot against Bilal Khan while McBrine mistimed his attempt to clear the ring straight into the hands of mid-off. After captain Andy Balbirnie’s outside edge on a drive was pouched safely by Naseem Khushi, Ireland were in trouble.

Tector stepped in and got going with two crisp drives. Lorcan Tucker smashed Ayaan for consecutive boundaries, but it was the left-arm spinner who had the last laugh by dismissing the wicketkeeper-batter for an 18-ball 26 with a ripper of a delivery.

With Oman using the spin trio of Maqsood, Khan and Jay Odedra to keep Ireland quiet, Dockrell decided to upset their rhythm with two boundaries off Ayaan, taking Ireland to 125/4 after 25 overs, while sharing a 79-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Gareth Delany (20 off 14), Mark Adair (15 off 11) and Graham Hume (15 not out off 12) all scored quickly as Dockrell carried on at the other end, finishing unbeaten on 91 to help Ireland to a seemingly competitive total.

Oman’s chase had an early setback as Jatinder Singh was caught at second slip for just one run. But a partnership worth 94 between Ilyas and Prajapati laid the foundation for Oman’s successful chase.

Both batters reached their half-centuries before Ilyas departed for a 49-ball 52 to Dockrell. Prajapati and Maqsood kept the runs flowing, adding 62 from the third wicket before the opener finally fell to Josh Little for an excellent 72.

After Little struck again to have Maqsood caught behind for 59, Ayaan was fantastic in his pull shots to score a run-a-ball 21, before falling to Mark Adair via a caught and bowled. But with Nadeem firing boundaries, Oman closed in on victory and it came in the penultimate over with Shoaib crunching a four through to spark jubilant celebrations in the dressing room.

Brief scores:

Oman 285/5 in 48.1 overs (Kashyap Prajapati 72, Zeeshan Maqsood 59; Mark Adair 2-47, Josh Little 2-47) beat Ireland 281/7 in 50 overs (George Dockrell 91 not out, Harry Tector 52, Bilal Khan 2-64, Fayyaz Butt 2-65) by five wickets




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