Sri Lanka U19s pulled off a mind-blowing win against Pakistan U19s in the 1st semi-final of ACC U19 Asia Cup 2021 today (30th Dec) in Dubai.
It was a tremendous fightback from the young Lions as they managed to defend a total as low as 147 runs against a more than capable Pakistan U19 outfit.
This was the first time the Sri Lanka bowling unit was put to test in this tournament and seems like they came out amazing.
Opting to bat first, Sri Lankan batters started collapsing very early into the game. Men in form like Chamindu Wickramasinghe, Sadisha Rajapaksa, Pawan Pathiraja and Ranuda Somaratne all failed to fire as the highest score among them was 12 runs made by Wickramasinghe.
Sri Lanka fell deep into the pit as they even lost their skipper as the 8th wicket on just 70 runs. It was only then the two lanky speedsters, Yasiru Rodrigo and Matheesha Pathirana provided Sri Lanka with much-needed resistance at the very bottom of the order.
The duo scored 31 runs each to help Sri Lanka post something fightable on the board. Yasiru Rodrigo faced the most number of deliveries in the Sri Lankan innings as the tall left-hander saw off 81 deliveries in his knock.
Pathirana on the other hand did the run-making as he took only 33 deliveries to get his share of runs.
Despite having a nearly impossible task at hand, the Lankan bowlers walked out with grit and determination to get to that finals on the 31st.
It was a commendable display of captainship from Dunith Wellalage who managed his bowlers to near perfection.
He knew precisely what combinations of bowlers should be operated at which part of the game as he and his bowling unit not only pushed this game to the last over but also came out victorious at the end of it.
The use of non-regular bowlers like Shevon Daniel and Sadisha Rajapaksa to get through 14 overs with under 3 runs an over, was a major catalyst in this win.
But the much-needed impetus – an early breakthrough – was provided by the right-arm offie, Trevin Mathew who managed to send 3 Pakistani batsmen back into the hut within the first 6 overs with the score just on 10 runs.
From there on wickets kept on tumbling at regular intervals and the Lanka bowlers started to tighten the screw on the Pakistanis.
Trevin Mathews returned unbelievable figures in a pressure game as the Antonian bowled his 10 overs for just 14 runs, with 3 maidens and picked up 4 important wickets.
Skipper Wellalage gave a steady hand to Trevin in this onslaught as the left-armer bagged 3 scalps for 31 runs, making sure Sri Lanka was well over the line.
Trevin Mathew was duly awarded the man of the match trophy.
It undoubtedly will be a final to watch as Sri Lanka will meet India in the final of ACC U19 Asia Cup 2021 tomorrow, 31st December in Dubai.