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I was hoping I'd be able to finish the game: Dasun Shanaka on whirlwind knock

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Pallekele, June 12 (Ajit Weekly News) Though Australia won the T20I series 2-1, Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka left an unforgettable mark on the third and final T20I at Pallekele with his whirlwind 54 not out off just 25 balls to take the hosts to a four-wicket victory with a ball to spare.

Shanaka’s knock, laced with five fours and four sixes with a whopping strike rate of 216, ensured that Sri Lanka scored 59 runs off the final three overs to win the match, which is also the most scored by any team to win a men’s T20 match in the last three overs, surpassing the previous record of 56 by Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League (BBL).

What made the innings all more incredible was that it literally came out of nowhere. Shanaka had arrived at the crease in the 13th over, and looked out of sorts. After the 17th over, Sri Lanka’s asking rate was 19.66, with Shanaka on six off 12 balls.

But something clicked in the 18th over as Shanaka and Sri Lanka took 22 runs off Josh Hazlewood, then took 18 runs off the 19th over from Jhye Richardson and signed off with a 19-run final over off Kane Richardson, as Shanaka amassed 48 runs off his next 13 balls.

“At the initial moment when I went out to the crease, so I took a few balls to get in. I think my strike rate was around 50. I read the wicket really well, and kept my wicket in the other side without throwing it away. And in the end, I was hoping I’d be able to finish the game. Toss is always important in Sri Lanka, and maybe it wasn’t the best decision to bat first. We hope to take this momentum forward into the ODI series,” said Shanaka after the match, adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.

Shanaka’s blinder to avoid a series whitewash at home also got praise from Australia skipper Aaron Finch, who bagged ‘Player of the Series’ award and was happy with how the visitors fared in the series. “I’m happy with our performance throughout the series, it was just an unbelievable knock by Dasun tonight.”

“We felt that the pitch slowed down a bit towards the end of our innings, so we didn’t think it made too much of a difference whether we batted first or second. In general, we’re quite comfortable with our side and our options.”

Sri Lanka and Australia will now face off in a five-match ODI series, starting from June 14 and ending on June 24.

–Ajit Weekly News

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