Sri Lanka 245 all out (Nissanka, Asalanka 63, Greaves 4-32) beat Scotland 163 all out (Greaves 56*, Theekshana 3-41, Hasaranga 2-42) by 82 runs

Sri Lanka may have had some cause to worry when they were bowled out for 245 in the 50th over.

But as good as their batting has been in this tournament – until this game, at least – their bowling has been the best on show. Wanindu Hasaranga didn’t get a five-wicket haul this time, but between them, he and Maheesh Theekshana buried the Scotland batting order – Theekshana claiming 3 for 41, Hasaranga 2 for 42.

With the seamers pitching in, and a couple of run outs to finish, Sri Lanka strode to a 82-run victory.

None of their matches in this group stage have been close. Though there remains some embarrassment about having to play a Qualifying tournament at all, as a former ODI World Cup champion, Sri Lanka will take some satisfaction from being the side best-placed ahead of the Super Six. They will take four vital points into that stage, in addition to the tournament’s best Net Run Rate (NRR) of 3.047.

Scotland have also qualified for the next stage, having won three matches and lost only this one, while maintaining a NRR of 0.540. The Super Six matches against Zimbabwe and West Indies are likely to decide their fate.

Sri Lanka’s bowlers have been imperious in this tournament, and this match was no exception, as they reduced the opposition to 6 for 74 on a sluggish Bulawayo track, inside the first 16 overs. This essentially threw Scotland out of the game. Chris Greaves struck an unbeaten 56 from No. 7, but the target always seemed beyond Scotland, with Sri Lanka’s bowlers having dominated right through their innings.

Seamer Lahiru Kumara had made the first breakthrough, uprooting Matthew Cross’ middle stump with a jagging, length delivery. Then the spinners piled on. Theekshana took out Brandon McMullen’s middle stump, before having Richie Berrington caught athletically at slip by Dhananjaya de Silva soon after. Later, Hasaranga would have opener Christopher McBride caught at short cover, before having Mark Watt lbw.

When Theekshana had Jack Jarvis lbw to leave Scotland 100 for 8, it was all over. Greaves would need a miracle to take Scotland towards victory; he merely produced a very good innings, and saw his last two partners run out. Scotland were all out in the 29th over.

On a surface that was tough to score on, Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka had propelled Sri Lanka to their competitive total, the former collecting 75 off 85 deliveries, the latter making a busy 63 off 65 as wickets fell around him. The two shared only a 44-run stand, but together were responsible for giving the Sri Lanka batting effort its backbone.

Nissanka was steady through the first half of the innings, and Asalanka guided Sri Lanka through the middle overs.

The left-arm finger spin of Mark Watt was responsible for dismissing them both – Nissanka slapping a short ball to short midwicket, Asalanka edging one to the keeper as he attempted a late cut. Watt would get a third, when he snared Rajitha in front of the stumps. He’d finish with Scotland’s best analysis: 3 for 52.

The last of his wickets came in Scotland’s best period of the game, when they claimed five wickets inside 34 deliveries. It meant that Sri Lanka would score about 40 runs fewer than what they seemed to be headed for in the 37th over. But such was the quality of Sri Lanka’s bowling, it mattered little.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf


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