ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Karunaratne Among Records Despite The Faulty Start
Sri Lanka wouldn’t have wanted this shoddy start to their 2019 World Cup campaign opening game against the BlackCaps. The absence of Tim Southee was something the Lankans were looking to capitalize on, but this time around, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry destroyed their batting lineup for a meager total of 136 runs. It was chased down comfortably within 17 overs by the Kiwi openers, guiding their team to victory without the loss of a single wicket.
Despite the domination from the Kiwi pacers, the newly appointed Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne fought for his team alone, registering a dogged half century and carrying his bat. “Carrying one's bat” refers to the scenario where the opening batsman stays not out throughout the innings. D Karunaratne became only the 2nd batsman to carry his bat in a World Cup match when he remained 52 not out after facing 84 balls against New Zealand, while the team around him crumbled. Sri Lanka's total was the second-lowest in its World Cup history.
The only other batsman to do this was Ridley Jacobs of West Indies. In a match against the Aussies back in 1999 World Cup - again when England were the hosts - Jacobs scored 49 runs off 142 balls and remained unbeaten till the end, while all his teammates perished by the 47th over, resulting in the final total being just 110 runs. Unsurprisingly, Jacobs' knock also came in a losing cause.
D Karunaratne happens to be the 12th batsman to carry his bat through in the history of One Day Internationals. Interestingly, the previous instance also involved a Sri Lankan captain, again in a losing effort - Upul Tharanga’s ton went in vain against the Pakistanis at Abu Dhabi during the 2017 tour; chasing a below-par 220-run target, Tharanga’s 112* off 144 balls still couldn’t secure them a win.
The achievement itself is very admirable indeed, but it does not seem to do the Sri Lankan team any favors, especially if it is the Captain carrying his bat through.