Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka holds off Oman for nervy win in first T20


Sri Lanka won the first T20 against Oman by a 19-run margin, but not before having to overcome a disastrous start on the way to setting the hosts a target of 163 at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground yesterday.

Oman, having let slip their strong position during Sri Lanka’s innings with some poor fielding, were reduced to 23 for 4 inside the first five overs and it was a situation they could not recover from, though managing to bat out their 20 overs for a total of 143 in a nervy finish top the game for the visitors.

For Sri Lanka, fast bowler Lahiru Kumara was the pick, returning figures of 4 for 40 in four overs, with Nuwan Pradeep and Chamika Karunaratn­e taking two wickets each. Integral to Sri Lanka’s recovery were Avishka Fernando and Dasun Shanaka, who put on an unbeaten 111run partnershi­p for the fourth wicket, both batters scoring half centuries. A re-jigged batting line-up saw Dinesh Chandimal open the innings with Pathum Nissanka, both of whom failed to get into double figures, and along with Kamindu Mendis were dismissed inside the Powerplay, as Sri Lanka slid to 21 for 3 in the fifth over.

Fernando, batting in an unfamiliar position of number four, remained tentative throughout the first part of his innings, scoring just two boundaries in the first 36 balls he faced. Sri Lanka were 66 for 4 in 13 overs at that stage – Bhanuka Rajapaksa being dismissed in the 11th over for 15 – at which point Fernando and Shanaka switched gears, plundering 96 runs off the remaining overs helped by more than an acceptable number of dropped catches.

Fernando smacked five sixes -- the second of which brought him his half-century off 44 balls -- and one more boundary as he finished on 83 off 59 balls.

There was a welcome return to form for Captain Shanaka who reached his half century in just 24 balls, cracking five sixes and two fours.

 ?? Avishka Fernando ??
Avishka Fernando

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