Sri Lanka compensated for their batting failure with a disciplined bowling performance to beat the United Arab Emirates by 14 runs in a round-robin league encounter of the Asia Cup Twenty20, in Mirpur, on Thursday.
Put in to bat by the UAE, the current World T20 champions could manage only 129 for eight in 20 overs, with only Dinesh Chandimal (50) making a significant contribution.
But skipper Lasith Malinga dealt twin blows in the very first over of the UAE innings with two block-hole deliveries to peg back the Gulf team.
Eventually, the UAE could only muster 115 for 9 in their stipulated overs, their inexperience evident in the failed run-chase.
In a match that was played without much drama, the only notable incident was pacer Dushmantha Chameera being barred from completing the final over of the innings for bowling two beamers, which is illegal according to the rule book.
Angelo Mathews was then handed the responsibility of completing the formalities.
The UAE batsmen, even after recovering from the top-order damage, never went for the chase.
Within the first five overs they lost four wickets, with Sri Lanka’s seasoned duo of Malinga (4-26 in four overs) and Nuwan Kulasekara (3-10 in four overs) sharing the spoils.
With half of the team back in the dug-out before the total reaching even 40, it was virtually impossible for the qualifiers to make a match out of it.
The UAE’s fall started with the very first delivery when opener Rehan Mustafa (0) was adjudged LBW. Malinga bowled one that was full and swung into batsman’s pads. It would have crashed into middle and leg and the decision was an easy one for the umpire.
In that very over, he dealt another telling blow, removing the UAE’s best batsman, Mohammed Shahzad (1), with another full delivery that went through his defences.
Muhammad Kaleem (7) tried to clear mid-off but Mathews took a simple catch to give Kulasekara his first wicket.
The UAE innings was in tatters at 16 for four when Muhammed Usman (6) tried to slam a Kulasekara delivery only for Chamara Kapugedara to take a regulation catch at first slip.
At that moment, the match was virtually over, but Swapnil Patil (37) tried to save his team the blushes though it was too little too late for the Gulf nation.
Rangana Herath (2-22) got a couple of middle-order wickets and maintained the pressure on UAE.
The UAE will take some positives out of the match, especially a good performance from their bowlers, led by skipper Amjad Javed (3-25), who got the first three Sri Lankan wickets including Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan (27) and Milinda Siriwardana (6).
Chandimal scored 50 off 39 balls, which included seven fours and a six, adding 68 runs for the opening stand with Dilshan.
Sri Lanka were 72 for one after first 10 overs but some poor shot selection saw them tally only 57 runs in the next 10, losing seven more wickets.
But for the openers, none of the Lankan batsmen could cross the 10-run mark.