A strong performance by Sri Lanka’s tail lifted their score to 236 all out against Pakistan on Monday.
The encounter had been effectively billed as a quarter-final. The winner’s tournament aspirations will remain intact with a semi-final berth, while the loser will face elimination from the tournament.
It was Sri Lanka who made a steady start in the must-win clash, reaching 25-0 in five overs after being asked to bat by Pakistan.
Junaid Khan got the breakthrough for Pakistan when he dismissed Danushka Gunathilaka for 13. Kusal Mendis (27) and Dickwella consolidated the innings for Sri Lanka, seeing their side to the 50-run mark after exactly ten overs. They continued to keep the scoreboard ticking with ease before Hasan Ali struck to remove Mendis.
As the old saying goes, one often brings two, and it rang true when Dinesh Chandimal was sent back to the dressing room after only two balls.
Dickwella was then joined by captain Angelo Matthews. Together they strengthened Sri Lanka’s position greatly. They reached the 100-run mark in the 20th over, the same over in which Dickwella reached his fifty off 52 balls.
Matthews scored a 54-ball 39 and saw to it that his team reached 150 before he succumbed to Mohammed Amir in the 31st over. Again Sri Lanka lost wickets in clusters, with four wickets falling in three overs for the addition of six runs. Unfortunately for the Islanders, this included the scalp of Dickwella for 73 (four fours).
An innings that threatened to go pear-shaped for Sri Lanka was revived by Asela Gunaratne and Suranga Lakmal. The lower-order batsmen steered Sri Lanka to 200 runs and beyond. Though Lakmal was eventually dismissed for 26, the 46-run 8th stand could prove invaluable in the outcome of the match.
Gunaratne added a valuable 19 with Lasith Malinga for the 9th wicket, before his innings finally came to an end when Ali dismissed him for 27.
Sri Lanka will hope that their bowlers can defend the total in order to keep their tournament alive.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images