Oman bounced back from 54 for 5 in the 12th over to reach 143 for 8 in 20.
Muscat : Avishka Fernando’s superb 85 not out steered Sri Lanka to a nail-biting 19-run victory against Oman on Thursday in what turned out to be a slugfest of sixes in the first of two T20 games to be played at the picturesque Oman Cricket Academy Ground in Amerat.
A total of 17 sixes were hit during the game, most of them in the second half of each innings as the two teams showcased their ability to bounce back from an ordinary start.
Sri Lanka was poorly placed at 40 for 3 in 9 overs before a 111-run partnership propelled it to 162 for 4 in 20 overs. Similarly, Oman bounced back from 54 for 5 in the 12th over to reach 143 for 8 in 20.
Fast bowler Lahiru Kumara did the bulk of the damage, taking 4 for 30 in four overs to keep Oman in check when it threatened to turn the game on its head.
He did well to contain particularly the six-hitter Naseem Khushi, who looked in ominous touch during his 22-ball 40. Mohammad Nadeem and Ayaan Khan were the other Oman batters who made notable contributions, scoring 32 and 23 respectively.
The two teams will clash again on Saturday at a day-night game that will start at 6.30 pm.
Friday will see Oman A taking on a red-hot Bangladesh in a day-night encounter at the same venue.
As the expected drama of ICC T20 World Cup draws closer, Oman Cricket Academy Ground came alive with the constant cheering, singing and dancing of a boisterous crowd of a few hundred cricket lovers at the newly built stands at the ground.
Sri Lanka provided them much to celebrate through an entertaining 111-run unbroken 5th-wicket partnership between Avishka Fernando (85 off 59) and captain Dasun Shanaka (51 off 24).
The duo not only rescued their team from a precarious 51 for 4 in the 11th over but put them into a position of strength with some lusty blows that included 5 sixes each. Shanaka was particularlyaggressive towards the end helping Sri Lanka to an impressive total of 162 for 4.
Ahmed Fayyaz Butt could not build on his first over heroics in which he removed opener Dinesh Chandimal for a first-ball duck and then had Kamindu Mendis caught behind on the next ball. Pacer Kaleemullah and leggie Khawar Ali came out well with impressive spells. Kaleemullah picked up a wicket for 18 runs in four overs while Khawar bagged one for 18 in three.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 162 for 4 in 20 overs (Avishka Fernando 83 not out – 3x4, 5x6, Dasun Shanaka 51 not out –2x4, 5x6. Ahmed Fayyaz Butt 2-42) beat Oman 143 for 8 in 20 overs(Naseem Khushi 40 – 2x4, 4x6, Mohammad Nadeem 32 – 1x4, 2x6, Ayaan Khan 23 – 2x4, 1x6. Lahiru Kumara 4-30, Nuwan Pradeep 2-07, Chamika Karunaratne 2-28) by 19 runs.