Sri Lanka win first T20 against Oman, take series lead 1-0

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An unbeaten 83 by Avishka Fernando and an assured bowling performance spearheaded by Lahiru Kumara saw Sri Lanka clinch a 19-run win over Oman.

In the first of two T20Is the sides will play ahead of the T20 World Cup, Oman put Sri Lanka in to bat after winning the toss. They got off to a perfect start, reducing Sri Lanka to 21 for 3 inside five overs. Fayyaz Butt removed Dinesh Chandimal and Kamindu Mendis for golden ducks, before Kaleemullah put paid to Pathum Nissanka’s innings. A brief resurrection followed, but when Bhanuka Rajapaksa fell, Sri Lanka were wobbling at 51 for 4.

But from thereon, Sri Lanka began to assume control. They wouldn’t lose another wicket for the rest of the innings, with captain Dasun Shanaka – who smashed 51 off 24 – and Fernando plundering 112 off the final 56 balls. Oman struggled to find a response to the onslaught, Butt and Mohammad Nadeem leaking 84 in their combined eight overs. When Sri Lanka finished with 162, they found themselves on much more secure footing than they had been for much of the innings.

Oman were never really in the chase. Much like Sri Lanka, they lost a clump of early wickets, Nuwan Pradeep and Kumara accounting for six of them as Oman slumped to 23 for four. Rearguards from the lower middle order did arrive, but they only served to make the scorecard look closer than the game really was, Oman focused on avoiding a massive defeat than really looking to run the target down. Mohammad Nadeem, Ayaan Khan and Sandeep Goud guided them through the middle overs before Naseem Khushi in the lower order really cut loose.

He smacked 40 off 22, two fours and four sixes along the way, to take Oman past 140. However, with the asking rate much too high, the intensity may well have seeped out of the game. He would be dismissed off the final ball of the game, which made official a victory for a Sri Lanka side who will feel they have another couple of levels they can raise their game to.

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