All-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga welcomed the Player of the Match award, after Sri Lanka beat the West Indies by one wicket in Saturday's first ODI at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.
The wrist-spinner bowled 10 relatively economical overs and later hit an unbeaten 42 down the order to steer Sri Lanka to victory with five deliveries to spare – and an early lead in the three-match series. Sri Lanka and the West Indies are priced at 1.66 and 2.20, respectively, by bet365 to win the second ODI at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota on Wednesday.
Hasaranga had high praise for all-rounder Thisara Perera, whose return to international cricket was marked by the key wicket of West Indian opener Sunil Ambris and a complementary cameo of 32.
Hasaranga appreciates Perera
“When I went to bat we still had 75 to get. Thisara was batting at the time – he had 10 or 15 at the time. He can play the big shots any time. I managed to get a four and a six early on, without too much effort. So I tried to support Thisara when he was batting. I tried to stay in the wicket until it was necessary for me to take a risk,” said Hasaranga.
“When Thisara and I were batting, it also looked like there was a bit of rain in the air. We wondered if the match would stop for bad light or whatever. It was almost 5.30 at the time. But we wanted to be 10 runs in front of the Duckworth-Lewis par score. We didn't want to throw wickets away. It was because we had tried to get ahead of the rate at that time that I was able to take my time and finish like I did.
“The coach is constantly talking to me about things that are expected of me and what I can do for the team – bowl dots in the middle overs and get wickets, do well in the field, and finish a match when we get to situations like this. What he's told me is that I'm a player who can do all of that.”
Sri Lanka and the West Indies will meet for two T20Is after the ODI series.