Ireland’s World Cup hopes ended by Sri Lanka hammering
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Mark Adair – who took his 50th career ODI wicket when he caught and bowled Lahiru Kamara – Barry McCarthy and Gareth Delany all bowled well as Ireland bounced back well after a slow start.
Having lost their opening two matches, to Oman and Scotland, Ireland headed into this game needing a win to keep their slim hopes of reaching the Super Six stage of the competition alive, and having won the toss, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie sent Sri Lanka in to bat.
From the outset Sri Lanka looked dominant as they raced away to 31-0 after the first three overs. Ireland responded with back-to-back maidens from Adair and McCarthy, before the latter - playing in his first ODI since 2021 - removed both Prathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis with successive deliveries in the ninth over, Sri Lanka was then 48-2.
Karaunaratne and Samarawickrama both settled in and comfortably reached their half-centuries - Karunaratne his fifth consecutive ODI fifty in the 21st over and Samarawickrama followed up with his third ODI fifty two overs later. The pair went on to score 168 for the third wicket as Ireland couldn’t find a breakthrough with the two set batters.
The partnership was finally broken when Delany removed Samarawickrama for 82, as Harry Tector grabbed the ball high in the air with the first ball of the 36th over, with Sri Lanka 216-3. Karunaratne went on to score his maiden ODI century in the 37th over with a single down to third.
Late on, Ireland’s bowlers hit back, taking 7-109 in the final 15 overs as Sri Lanka posted 325 all out.
In reply, Ireland’s response suffered from the loss of regular wickets, despite keeping up with the required run rate required.
A wonderful one-handed catch by wicket-keeper Mendis saw Paul Stirling dismissed early on, and Ireland found themselves two down in the seventh over when Andy McBrine scooped one to Kusal Rajitha in the deep. Despite the loss of those early wickets Ireland were 53-2 after 9 overs – the exact same score as Sri Lanka were at the same stage of their innings.
Andrew Balbirine (12) was trapped lbw, while Lorcan Tucker went for a duck as Ireland were 58-4 and searching for a partnership.
However, a noteworthy partnership never materialised, as Wanindu Hasaranga put on a spinners masterclass for the Sri Lankans, including taking the wicket of Tector when he was looking comfortable.
Curtis Campher continued where he left off against Scotland, hammering the ball all over the ground – scoring 39 runs – before he top-edged one to Mendis in the 20th over with Ireland 116-6 after 20 overs, with Ireland‘s world cup dreams seemingly dashed.
Quick-fire knocks from Delany and Little kept the scoreboard ticking over. Little hit a massive six off Hasaranga, but the Sri Lankan spinner got his revenge with the very next ball, as he caught and bowled Little to claim his five-wicket haul, as Ireland were bowled out for 192 with 19 overs remaining.
Ireland will play their final qualifier against the United Arab Emirates tomorrow.