About the Match
Sri Lanka handed a crushing defeat to Ireland in the first one-day match, winning the contest by 76 runs through D/L method; an all-round effort by the batsmen and bowlers saw the visitors make a comeback into the series and they will now try to win the 2nd ODI too against Ireland at Dublin on 18th June. Chasing a reduced target of 293 runs from 47 overs, the Irish batting line-up stumbled after a good start and they were all-out by the 41st over. It needs to be seen if the islanders can continue with their winning momentum or the hosts draw level with a win on Saturday.
Porterfield led the team from the front, posting a well-made 73 in their chase for a formidable target of 293 runs; Kevin O’Brien was the other batsman to put up a solid fight as he scored 64 off 49 but the others down the line couldn’t keep the momentum going and lost the match by 76 runs. Players like Stirling, Ed Joyce, Stuart Poynter and Gary Wilson will need to come out all guns blazing in order to put up a stiff challenge batting first or chasing a target successfully.
Bowlers Boyd Ranking and Barry McCarthy took 2 wickets each to stifle Sri Lanka while speedsters Tim Murtagh, Max Sorensen and all-rounder Kevin O’Brien contributed with a wicket each but they couldn’t stop Chandimal from scoring the big runs. Stirling provides the spin option and overall, the bowlers can put up disciplined spells to contain the Lankans’ run-flow and provide breakthroughs when needed.
The top-order batsmen must focus on building a strong foundation while middle-order players must keep rotating the strike with quick singles and twos; the bowlers have been economical and they look well set to exploit the home conditions in order to win the upcoming game.
Dinesh Chandimal kept his thinking cap on and posted a superb unbeaten 100 off 107 to help the team post a humungous 303 runs batting first against Ireland; Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews thwarted the tactics of the Irish bowlers and contributed well with 51 and 49 runs respectively.
Dasun Shanaka showcased his all-rounder skills as he not only scored a superb 42 from just 19 balls but also took 5-43 in 9 overs to demolish the Irish batting line-up. The medium pacer bowled with precision and along with speedsters Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep and Mathews and spinner Seekkuge Prasanna, he helped win the match in a convincing way.
The Lankans have risen above their weaknesses to exert dominance over Ireland but now they should try to maintain the good performance; the top-order batting line-up needs to be consistent in scoring runs and not depend too much on couple of players in the middle. If they continue to do well in all departments of the game, then surely Sri Lanka can pose a tough challenge to its opponents.
Ireland will be low on team morale but they will fight back here for redemption; although Sri Lanka has the psychological advantage, we feel the hosts will emerge victorious on Saturday to draw level.