Sri Lanka and Ireland score big victories against Scotland and UAE

Theekshana was awarded the Man of the Match as Sri Lanka scored an 82-run win over Scotland

Sri Lanka finished at the top of the Group B points tally during the league round of the 2023 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023 as they defeated Scotland by 82 runs in their last league game. Meanwhile, the Bulawayo Athletic Club became witness to Ireland’s first win in the competition against UAE by 138 runs. 

Match 1: Sri Lanka vs Scotland

The Sri Lankan cricket team has been enjoying a purple match in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023 as they smacked three consecutive victories in their first three league games. Playing on Tuesday at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, the team continued its domination by hammering Scotland by a massive 82 runs. It was an all-round effort from the side as they ended up at the top of the Group B points tally with eight points to their name. 

The game between the top two of the second group commenced with Scotland skipper Richie Berrington winning the toss and opting to bowl first. Batting in the first innings, Sri Lanka managed to put up a decent score.

The team ended up with 245 runs as they were bowled out in 19.3 overs with Scotland’s Chris Greeves picking four wickets. The other two bowlers who made an impact in the first innings are Mark Watt and Chris Sole, as they picked three and two wickets, respectively.

Meanwhile, for Sri Lanka, Pathum Nissanka was the top player with a knock of 75 runs off 85 balls. He hit ten boundaries and played a major role in taking the team to a decent score. The opening batter found an ally in Charith Asalanka as played a good knock of 63 runs off 65 balls. 

Notably, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Dhananjaya de Silva were also decent as they added 26 and 23 runs to the scoreboard, respectively. Chasing the score in the second innings, Scotland was folded at a score of 163 runs. Sri Lankan bowlers have been brilliant in the series so far and they continued their domination on the 22-yard pitch on Tuesday as well. 

Maheesh Theekshana is the man to be blamed for Scotland’s defeat as he picked a whopping three wickets in his ten overs while conceding only 41 runs. The highest wicket-taker in the tournament, Wanindu Hasaranga, also continued his dream form by bowling at an economy rate of seven and picking two wickets. 

Meanwhile, Scotland was let down by their batting unit, especially the top order, as none of the players showed any intent to win the game. The lower middle-order batter Chris Greaves was the only one to leave an impact with a knock of 56 runs. 

Though a victory by 82 runs acted as a major boost for Sri Lanka ahead of the Super Six round, the defeat did not hamper Scotland much as they have already made it to the second round of the competition. 

Match 2: Ireland vs United Arab Emirates

The second match played on Tuesday, June 27, at the Bulawayo Athletic Club was again a dead rubber as both Ireland and the United Arab Emirates were already ruled out from the race to qualify for the second round. Both teams entered the Tuesday game after losing their first three league games in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023. However,  Ireland managed to outshine the United Arab Emirates as they scored their first win of the tournament by 138 runs. 

Put to bat first, the Andy Balbirine & Men dished out a hair-raising performance. They posted a total of 349 runs on the board in the allotted 50 overs while losing only four wickets. The team got off to a great start as the opening batter Paul Stirling delivered one of the best performances of his career with a knock of 162 runs off just 132 balls.

Paul Stirling smacked a century against the UAE

The skipper Andy and the middle-order batter Harry Tucker continued the momentum by scoring 66 and 57 runs to the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the wicketkeeper-batter Lorcan Tucker and George Dockrell applied the finishing touches by adding 19 and 15 runs respectively to the scoreboard. 

As far as the UAE is concerned, Sanchit Sharma was the only bowler to show some intent as he picked three wickets while conceding 46 runs in seven overs.

The second innings witnessed the domination of the Ireland bowlers as they gave the United Arab Emirates batters no batters to make a comeback in the game. The opening partnership looked well with Muhammad Waseem and Aryansh Sharma scoring 45 and 18 runs respectively. However, the skipper took the first wicket for Ireland by dismissing Waseem through a runout and there was no looking back for the team.

 It was a comprehensive bowling effort as Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine and Joshua Little picked two wickets each while Barry had one to his name. For UAE, after Waseem, Basil Hameed was the top run-getter with a knock of 39 runs. 

The two top UAE batters could not prolong their stay in the middle while the other players failed to make a difference and thus the United Arab Emirates ended up winless in the league round of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023. Meanwhile, Ireland finished in fourth place in Group B with two points from one win off four games.