Sri Lanka cruised to a 14-run victory over UAE in the Asia Cup but not before the minnows exposed the chinks in their batting on a slow pitch at Sher-e-Bangla National stadium on Thursday.
The final outcome was on the predictable lines but what would worry the Sri Lankans was the way their batsmen collapsed against an inexperienced attack. UAE, who had won all their three qualifying matches to make it to the main event, had the Sri Lankans by the scruff of their neck in the last 10 overs after Dinesh Chandimal (50) and Tillakaratne Dilshan had given them a brisk start.
The two openers put up a stand of 68 from nine overs but once Dilshan mistimed a pull off UAE captain Amjad Javed (3-25), the procession started. In the last 10 overs, Sri Lanka could muster only 61 runs at the cost of eight wickets to end their innings at 129/8.
However, Sri Lankan bowlers, led by a fiery Lasith Malinga (4-26) did not allow UAE to nurture hopes of any sensational upset, reducing them to 16/4 in 3.2 overs. In the end, UAE surrendered at 115/9 in their 20 overs.
Malinga had removed UAE opener Rohan Mustafa and Mohammad Shehzad in the first over and the newcomers could never recover from the damage. In no time the top-order collapsed with Nuwan Kulasekara (3-10) and Rangana Herath (2-22) doing the rest of the damage. Only Swapnil Patil put a respectable resistance before being caught and bowled by Malinga.
After UAE chose to field, Dilshan and Chandimal set the platform for a late launch. Dilshan looked scratchy but that didn’t stop him from stroking four boundaries, three of which came in the third over against Mohammad Naveed. Chandimal squeezed out the gaps and pierced the ground with silken drives.
But Amjad struck by dismissing the top three Sri Lankan batsmen -- Dilshan, Milinda Siriwardana and Chandimal -- within four overs and UAE had spring in their steps. The surface was slow but had bounce and the odd ball moved, which Amjad used it to perfection.
Chandimal batted with gumption for his half-century but holed it out to the midwicket immediately after. The spinners further arrested the run flow. And when Angelo Mathews failing was adjudged leg-before after failing to connect his reverse sweep, Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother at 105/5. It was before the bowlers rescued them.
DH News Service