- Sri Lanka won their opening match of the Asia Cup after surviving a scare by UAE.
- The Lankans managed only 129/8 in the first innings, but a good bowling spell from Lasith Malinga saved them the blushes in the second innings.
- UAE took the chase till the last over, before their innings wrapped up on 115/9.
Sri Lanka won their opening encounter in the Asia Cup at Mirpur by beating minnows UAE by 14 runs on Friday, 26 February.
The match, which was expected to be a walk in the park for the Lankan lions, turned out to be far from it as a clinical bowling performance from the Emiratis in the first innings meant that Sri Lanka were restricted to a paltry 129 for the loss of eight wickets.
Dinesh Chandimal made the only significant contribution with the bat for the defending champions with a half century, as UAE skipper Amjad Javed played chief wrecker. Having claimed the scalps of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, and Milinda Siriwardana, Javed finished his spell of four overs with figures of 3/25.
Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga stepped up to the plate in the second innings, dealing twin blows in the very first over with two blockhole deliveries to peg back UAE, who only managed 115 for 9 in their stipulated overs. The target was a small one but UAE's inexperience against big teams was the main reason they couldn't chase down a small total.
In a match that never rose to dizzy heights, the only notable incident was pacer Dushmantha Chameera being barred from completing the final over of the innings for bowling two beamers which is considered illegal as per rules. It was Angelo Mathews who completed the formalities.
The batsmen, even after recovering from the top-order damage, never went for the chase.
Within the first five overs, UAE lost four wickets with the seasoned duo of Malinga (4/26 in 4 overs) and Nuwan Kulasekara (3/10 in 4 overs) sharing the spoils. With half of the team being back in the dug-out before the total even reached 40, it was virtually impossible for the qualifiers to make a match out of it.
It started with the very first delivery that left-handed opener Rehan Mustafa (0) faced. Malinga bowled one that was full and swung into the batsman's pads. It would have crashed into middle and leg and the decision was an easy one for the umpire.
In that very over, Malinga dealt another telling blow, removing UAE's best batsman Mohammed Shahzad (1) with another full delivery that went through his defences.
Muhammad Kaleem (7) tried to clear mid-off but Angelo Mathews took a simple catch to give Kulasekara his first wicket. UAE were in tatters at 16 for four when Muhammed Usman (6) tried a hoick off Kulasekara but Chamara Kapugedara took a regulation catch at first slip. At that moment, the match was virtually over but Swapnil Patil (37) saved his team the blushes. But Patil did not play too many big shots even when he was set. None of the other batsmen crossed the 15-run mark for UAE.
Rangana Herath (2/22) got a couple of middle-order wickets and kept the pressure on UAE.
However, UAE took plenty of positives from the match and go into their match against hosts Bangladesh later today brimming with confidence.
With PTI inputs