Dushmantha Chameera led Sri Lanka’s fiery fast bowling display against the United Arab Emirates with three wickets in the T20 World Cup in Geelong on Tuesday as the former champions got their campaign back on track with a comprehensive 79-run win.
Opener Pathum Nissanka compiled a responsible 74 to help Sri Lanka post 152-8 after a hat-trick from spinner Karthik Meiyappan derailed the Asia Cup champions, who had suffered a 55-run thrashing by Namibia in their opening match.
The UAE got off to a disastrous start in their chase and were reduced to 21-4 inside the first six overs of powerplay with Chameera doing most of the damage for the 2014 champions by picking up three wickets in his first two overs.
They never recovered from the false start and were bundled out for 73 as Sri Lanka bounced back from their opening loss.
Sri Lanka will have their fingers crossed on the fitness of Chameera, however, who had missed the Asia Cup with a leg injury and hobbled off the field on Tuesday after pulling out of his run-up while delivering the final ball of his fourth over.
Wanindu Hasaranga also made a significant impact for Sri Lanka with his leg-spin, picking up three wickets for just eight runs.
Earlier, the Netherlands suffered a loss of Dutch courage on the way to a nerve-racking, five-wicket win over Namibia that moved them a step closer to qualifying for the Super 12 stage.
The Netherlands, who edged UAE in a tense opener on Sunday, will play Sri Lanka in their final Group A match on Thursday with the Emiratis taking on Namibia with two of the four teams going through to the next phase.
With more than six overs left, the Netherlands were 92-2 in pursuit of a modest total of 121-6 against Namibia but lost three wickets for 10 runs to turn the match into a nail-biter.
With six runs required in the final over, man-of-the-match Bas de Leede (30 not out) smashed fast-bowling all-rounder David Wiese over his head for four and struck another two down the ground to claim victory with three balls to spare.
It was a big let-down for Namibia, however, against the Dutch after their stunning demolition of Sri Lanka at the same venue on Sunday.
Namibia won the toss and chose to bat but were down to 3-32 before the end of the powerplay and never recovered despite 43 from all-rounder Jan Frylinck.