Sri Lanka will take on Ireland in match number eight of the T20 World Cup 2021 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The game will be played as part of the Group A encounters in Round 1 of the ICC event.
Both Sri Lanka and Ireland will go into the clash high on confidence, having won their respective opening matches in Round 1. The Lankans proved they were too strong for Namibia. They put up a solid bowling effort to roll over their opponents for 96. After some initial hiccups, Sri Lanka got home without much trouble, winning the contest by seven wickets and with more than six overs to spare.
Meanwhile, Ireland were expected to find the going tough against the Netherlands. But that did not turn out to be the case. The Dutch collapsed for 106 batting first, after which Ireland chased down the target by seven wickets. In short, both Sri Lanka and Ireland came up with highly efficient bowling efforts, which set up the game for their batters.
T20 World Cup 2021: Ireland threat looms over Sri Lanka
Every cricket fan would be aware of the fact that Ireland are capable of stunning the very best in the business of their day.
Sri Lanka, too, would be wary of the same, and cannot afford to slip up against Ireland. The Lankans will have the edge going into the game, given their experience and helpful conditions on offer, which should aid their style of play. However, Ireland, as usual, will be confident of putting up a fight.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers were exceptionally good in the victory over Namibia. Off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana stood out with figures of 3 for 25, while Wanindu Hasaranga and Lahiru Kumara chipped in with a couple of scalps apiece. The other two bowlers picked up one wicket apiece without giving away too many. Sri Lanka will hope for a similar performance from their bowlers, but they can expect to face a stiffer challenge from Ireland’s batters.
Meanwhile, there is a lot of scope for improvement as far as Sri Lanka’s batting is concerned. Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal all fell cheaply against Namibia. At one stage, they were 26 for 3. Although Sri Lanka recovered, courtesy Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42*) and Avishka Fernando (30*), they would be disappointed with the performance of their top three, especially against a comparatively weak side like Namibia.
Ireland, meanwhile, will be extremely pleased with the way they bowled against Netherlands. Curtis Campher created history, claiming four wickets in as many balls to become only the third bowler to achieve the feat in T20Is. Pacer Mark Adair also came up with a stupendous show to return with figures of 3 for 9.
It would be too much to expect Ireland’s bowlers to repeat the feat against Sri Lanka, though, but they would undoubtedly be buoyed by their success.
During their chase of 107 against the Dutch, Ireland lost their captain Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O'Brien cheaply. As they are two of the key components in their batting line-up, the team would want them to get among the runs quickly. Gareth Delany impressed with his 29-ball 44, while Paul Stirling made a patient 30.
Ireland have the talent and aptitude to put it across the Sri Lankans. However, Sri Lanka’s flair and experience give the Asian side the advantage.
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Prediction: Sri Lanka to win match eight of the T20 World Cup 2021.