Sri Lanka won the opening T20I as expected but the manner of their victory was not quite what we had anticipated.
Perhaps, it was the size of their opposition that kept them from giving their all, or maybe it was the unfamiliarity of the conditions but whatever it was, Sri Lanka performed far below their usual level and only won by 19 runs in the end.
In fact, at the start of the match, when Sri Lanka had begun their innings, they were 7-2, 21-3, and 51-4, at various points. It had seemed at the time as if an upset may also be in the offing but Avishka Fernando (83*) and captain Dasun Shanaka (51) got them bailed out.
In the end, enough of recovery was made that a total of 162-4 was amassed, which proved enough for the win.
Oman had a dream start to the match as explained above. In the 11th over, they had Sri Lanka reeling at 51-4 and were on top in the contest.
From that point, the islanders got serious and then Oman did not have a chance.
While their bowlers had impressed in spurts, their batting top order was totally flat, just as Sri Lanka’s was. None of the Omani top four got into double figures, and even though the lower order did put up a bit of a fight, they were never truly in the match.
Had the top order played their part, though, or even contributed a little bit, Oman would have been in with a chance.