Sri Lanka put themselves in a commanding position to qualify for the Cricket World Cup after a battle of spin against Scotland.
In a dead-rubber game meanwhile, Ireland picked up their first win of the tournament over UAE, as the group stages came to an end on Day 10 of the Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
Sri Lanka (245 all out, 49.3 overs) beat Scotland (163 all out, 29 overs) by 82 runs
Spin played a major role as Scotland and Sri Lanka went head-to-head in a de facto Super 6 clash to wrap the group stages. With both teams already qualified to the second stage, and both teams already carrying two points forward after each beating Oman, the winner of this clash would assume pole position for a place in the World Cup in India.
Bowling first, Scotland’s spin bowling gave Scotland hope of a fourth consecutive win, as Chris Greaves and Mark Watt took seven wickets between them to bowl Sri Lanka out for 245. Greaves continued from his five-wicket haul against Oman with four, whilst Watt claimed three key scalps after Sri Lanka had reached 142/3.
Chris Sole had been economical in his opening spell, and picked up two wickets. But Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka settled in to lay a platform for a big total. Nissanka made 75, and Asalanka 63 as the pair got up to 142 in the 29th over, eyeing up another 300+ total.
Watt accounted for Nissanka, before Dhanajaya de Silva joined Asalanka. The pair batted 10 overs for 60, before Greaves took two in two with the score 203. Watt claimed Asalanka in the following over, ending any realistic hopes of the Lions accelerating at the death. The spinners claimed the wickets of the tailenders, with Sri Lanka bowled out for 245.
What a performance with the ball 👏
— Cricket Scotland (@CricketScotland) June 27, 2023
After totals of 355 and 325 batting first, this was Sri Lanka’s lowest first innings score of the tournament, but with the pitch offering significant turn, Scotland would need all their skills and application to negate Sri Lanka’s spinners.
The chase got off to a poor start when Matthew Cross fell to Lahiru Kumara in the 2nd over. Sri Lanka went to spin as soon as the 5th over, and Theekshana was rewarded with his first wicket, of Brandon McMullen, in the seventh.
Richie Berrington and Chirs McBride took Scotland to a competitive 55/2 in the 11th over, before Theekshana dismissed Berrington for 10. McBride fell for 29 to Wanindu Hasaranga, and Tom Mackintosh and Micheal Leask both fell for single figure scores. Scotland were left reeling at 74/6.
Mark Watt and Chris Greaves, after starring with the ball, looked to counter-punch. But Watt was given out LBW to Hasaranga, despite the ball appearing to have hit Watt outside the line. Jack Jarvis fell for a duck, and Scotland were 100/8.
But Greaves did not let up, latching on to whatever was off-line from the spinner. He raised a 39-ball fifty with support from Chris Sole. Sole was run out for 17 after Greaves called for a risky run, and when the same fate befell Ali Evans three balls later, Scotland were all out for 163.
The race for the final two #CWC23 spots is heating up 🔥
How the Super Six standings look at the end of the Qualifier group stages 👀 pic.twitter.com/B2xTVFb72V
— ICC (@ICC) June 27, 2023
The Saltires will be left to rue a lack of application, having put Sri Lanka under some pressure for the first time in the tournament. But it’s the Lions who take the two points, and a take the initiative in the race for the top two places.
Ireland (349/4, 50 overs) defeated United Arab Emirates (211, 39 overs) by 138 runs
Ireland finally got a win on the board in the World Cup Qualifiers with a 138-run win over UAE, who remain winless in the tournament.
In a dead-rubber game, Ireland loss the toss and were asked to bat. And after a string of top order failures, the batting finally clicked. McBrine and Stirling made 44 for the first wicket, Stirling initially the more watchful of the two, but after McBrine fell for 24, Stirling began to find his rhythm.
Stirling hit 15 fours and 8 sixes in an innings of 162 off 134 balls. Backed up by a 66 by Balbirnie, Ireland began building an imposing total. Harry Tector added 57 off 33 balls, and with contributions from Lorcan Tucker (19*) and George Dockrell (15*), Ireland raised 349/4.
Sanchit Sharma was the only bowler to put a serious dent in Ireland’s acceleration, claiming the wickets of McBrine, Stirling and Tector.
In reply, Mohammed Waseem got UAE off to a bright start, scoring 45 of the Emirati’s first 58 runs. However, he was hit on the glove by Mark Adair, and stepped out of his crease, appearing to ask for treatment. Balbirnie threw down the stumps, and with the ball still considered live, Waseem was run out.
None of the UAE batters could match Waseem’s strike rate, and hopes of a big chase soon faded. Wickets fell in clusters, UAE slipped to 109/6, and then from 179/6 to 211 all out. Basil Hameed and Sanchit Sharma combined for a 70 run partnership for the 7th wicket, including 3 sixes each, but the tail did not resist for long, leaving UAE 138 runs short.
Ireland and UAE both play in the 7th – 10th place playoffs, with Ireland facing USA on Friday, whilst UAE will face Nepal on Sunday.
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