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Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Sri Lanka powered into the Super Six stage of the Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament with a crushing 133-run win over Ireland on Sunday that eliminated their opponents.

Scotland also made it three wins from three in Group B as they beat Oman by 76 runs, with both teams joining Sri Lanka in reaching the next round.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne made a run-a-ball 103 and Sadeera Samarawickrama hit 82 as Sri Lanka compiled an imposing total of 325 all out off 49.5 overs after being put in to bat in Bulawayo.

Mark Adair took 4-46 and Barry McCarthy claimed 3-56 but Ireland’s pace spearhead Josh Little conceded 78 runs in eight wicketless overs.

“If I get a start, I want to go for the big one,” said Karunaratne.

“In the morning, there was something for the bowlers, but when the swing stops we can get some boundaries. I was waiting for that… don’t try to hit them hard, just time them well.”

Karunaratne and Samarawickrama put on 168 for the third wicket after Kusal Mendis was trapped lbw first ball by McCarthy.

Charith Asalanka (38) and Dhananjaya de Silva (42 not out) also chipped in as Ireland sought to limit the damage in the closing overs.

Ireland needed a victory to keep their qualification hopes alive, but they lost experienced opener Paul Stirling for six and the wheels soon came off.

Captain Andy Balbirnie’s dismissal reduced Ireland to 57-3 and Lorcan Tucker was bowled for a duck the next over before Wanindu Hasaranga pinned Harry Tector in front for 33.

Curtis Campher, who made a century in the gut-wrenching loss to Scotland, briefly countered in his knock of 39 but once he top-edged to the wicketkeeper Ireland were all but doomed.

“We knew they had good spinners and they bowled well and cleaned us up,” said Balbirnie.

“Hugely disappointing not to get to the Super Sixes but you’ve got to move on.”

Hasaranga finished with 5-79, giving the Sri Lankan leg-spinner 16 wickets in three qualifiers so far in Zimbabwe.

In the group’s other game, Brandon McMullen smacked 136 off 121 balls — his first ODI century — and skipper Richie Berrington added 60 as Scotland set Oman a target of 321.

Oman slumped to 72-4 in response before wicketkeeper Naseem Khushi made an entertaining 69.

He was one of five wickets to fall to Chris Greaves as the leg-spinner picked up 5-53 and Oman ended well short on 244-9.

“We’ve had three different matchwinners which shows our character,” said Berrington, whose side take on Sri Lanka in their final group game.

“We know the importance of every point, so Tuesday’s going to be a big one against Sri Lanka. We have a lot of belief and know we need to get better with every game.”

©️ Agence France-Presse

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