Sri Lanka 152 for 8 (Nissanka 74, Dhananjaya 33, Meiyappan 3-19) beat United Arab Emirates 73 (Hasaranga 3-8, Chameera 3-15) by 79 runs
Geelong: Sri Lanka put on an exhibition of fast bowling under lights to gain a big win over UAE after a hat-trick from leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan in the first innings.
Karthik Meiyappan made history against Sri Lanka when he became the first player to claim a hat-trick for UAE in T20Is. It was also the first hat-trick of the tournament.
Sri Lanka were cruising along when Meiyappan came into the bowl the 15th over, with Pathum Nissanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa at the crease. The over turned the game on its head as it triggered a middle-order collapse, putting the pressure back on Sri Lanka.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa's attempt to go inside-out saw him hole out in the deep to Kashif Daud. Charith Asalanka departed for a golden duck as he nicked the ball to Vriitya Aravind.
Facing the hat-trick ball, Dasun Shanaka had no answer to the wonderful googly that found the gap between bat and pad and rattled his stumps as Meiyappan wheeled off in celebration.
On either side of the hat-trick, it was Sri Lanka who dominated the game for the most part. The opening partnership worth 42 runs between Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis got the Asia Cup champions off to a great start. Despite the wicket of Mendis in the fifth over, Shanaka's men were the happier side at the end of the Powerplay with over 50 runs.
This was followed by a 50-run stand between Dhananjaya de Silva and Nissanka. The all-rounder was the aggressor between the two, smashing a 21-ball 33 consisting of three fours and a six before a run-out brought his innings to a premature end.
Nissanka, who got to his fifty in the same over as the hat-trick, got a move on and helped Sri Lanka post a competitive total. A blinder from Basil Hameed brought an end to his innings where he scored almost half of Sri Lanka's team total.
Three of UAE's first four victims were cleaned up as Dushmantha Chameera and Pramod Madushan put on an exhibition of fast bowling, swinging and seaming the new ball around.
Under the lights, UAE struggled to get going, losing four wickets inside the Powerplay to be reduced to 21/4. Wanindu Hasaranga came on to pile on UAEs woes and the scorecard soon read 42/7 in 12 overs with Sri Lanka eyeing a huge win.
Sri Lanka and UAE are in the hunt for their first win of the tournament. Both the team suffered defeats in their respective first games – Namibia pulled off an upset win in the first game of the tournament against the Asia Cup Champions while Netherlands clinched a last-over thriller against UAE.
It was not just about the two points for the Islanders as they had a deficit in the net run rate that they needed to overcome against the UAE. Bowling UAE out for 73, Sri Lanka romped home to a 79-run win.
Sri Lanka's amazing show gives them a significant boost in a group where net run rate would likely play a role by the end.