Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (fourth right) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Ireland's Gareth Delany during their ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup qualifier at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Wanindu Hasaranga, the leg spinning allrounder of Sri Lanka, is turning out to be an exciting and mature performer from the island nation after quite a while. It was in end-July that he shot into limelight with a career-best haul of four wickets for nine runs to upset Shikhar Dhawan-led India and help his country clinch a creditable T20 series win - and his stock has been on the rise ever since.

In their Group A game against Ireland, a side always capable of a surprise in this format, Hasaranga dominated with an allround show - which included his maiden international half-century and economical figures of 1-12 as the 2014 champions won by 70 runs to be the first team in the Qualifiers to walk into the Super 12 stage of the tournament.

Sri Lanka are now the only side in Group A with two wins from two and with Ireland facing Namibia in the final round of games, they are assured of a place in the Super 12s, while also knowing that a win over Netherlands on Friday will see them top the table and join England, Australia, West Indies and South Africa in Group 1 as team A1.

Meanwhile, Ireland and Namibia face off in a mouth-watering match that will see the winners also qualify for the Super 12s.


Ireland arrived at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi with their tails up following a handsome seven-wicket success against Netherlands in their opening game and had the confidence to field when they won the toss.

Hasaranga, who smashed 71, and Pathum Nissanka (61), put on a 123-run stand to guide Sri Lanka to 171 for seven after being left in tatters in 8-3 by the Irish attack.

Paul Stirling claimed the wicket of experienced Kusal Perera for nought with the second ball of the innings and Josh Little took two in as many deliveries in the following over to remove Dinesh Chandimal and Avishka Fernando, two mainstays of the current Lankan batting.

Hasaranga then 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 reached his fifty in 38 balls and kept up the charge to punish the Ireland bowlers, blasting a towering six before falling to Mark Adair.

Nissanka was equally efficient and also recorded his first fifty in this 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 wicket 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 cameo of 21 off 11 balls.

Lanka employed the spin trick, led by spinner Maheesh Theekshana who returned figures of 3-17 and Hasaranga ran through his four overs quickly to dismiss Ireland for 101 in 18.3 overs despite a valiant 41 from skipper Andy Balbirnie.

Brief Scores

Sri Lanka beat Ireland, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi by 70 runs

Sri Lanka 171/7 in 20 overs (Wanindu Hasaranga 71, Pathum Nissanka 61; Josh Little 4/23, Mark Adair 2/35)

Ireland 101 all out in 18.3 overs (Andrew Balbirnie 41, Curtis Campher 24; Maheesh Theekshana 3/17, Lahiru Kumara 2/22)

Player of the Match: Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka)