|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong|
|Sri Lanka 152-8 (20 overs): Nissanka 74, D de Silva 33; Meiyappan 3-19|
|UAE 73 all out (17.1 overs): Aayan 19; Chameera 3-15, Hasaranga 3-8|
|Sri Lanka won by 79 runs|
|Scorecard; Group A table|
A hat-trick from spinner Karthik Meiyappan was not enough for the United Arab Emirates as they were beaten by Sri Lanka at the Men’s T20 World Cup.
Meiyappan removed Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka and Dasun Shanaka to help restrict Sri Lanka to 152-8.
But the UAE were skittled for 73 to slip to a 79-run defeat that sees them all-but eliminated.
Sri Lanka now need a big win against the Netherlands in their final game to qualify for the next stage.
The Netherlands edged Namibia by five wickets in Tuesday’s earlier game to top Group A, with Sri Lanka third behind Namibia courtesy of their inferior net run-rate.
The 2014 champions face the Netherlands at 05:00 BST on Thursday before Namibia take on the UAE (09:00).
The top two sides from each group will qualify for the Super 12s (two groups of six), which start on 22 October. The winner of Group A and runner-up from Group B will face England.
Meiyappan makes history
Though it was in defeat, Meiyappan wrote his name into the history books with what will be one of the moments of the tournament.
The 22-year-old is the first UAE player to take a T20 international hat-trick and just the fifth player from any nation to do so in a Men’s T20 World Cup.
It arrived at a crucial time too with Sri Lanka 117-2 and threatening to cut loose.
His first wicket arrived when Rajapaksa was lured into a loose stroke outside his off stump that looped to Kashif Daud at deep cover.
Another left-hander Asalanka was next, nicking a googly through to wicketkeeper Vriitya Aravind.
Then it was the turn of Sri Lanka skipper Shanaka, but his first delivery escaped through the gap between bat and pad and clattered into the stumps, sparking scenes of jubilation among the UAE players.
“To get a hat-trick in a World Cup game, especially against a Test-playing nation in Sri Lanka, is really a great feeling and it hasn’t sunk it yet,” Meiyappan said.
“Shanaka was the special ball for me. To get it through bat and pad bowled, that was the biggest one.”
UAE captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan said: “He bowled beautifully. To get a hat-trick in a World Cup is special and he is a special bowler.”
Nissanka and Chameera show their class
Meiyappan’s heroics triggered a middle-order collapse from Sri Lanka, who slipped from 117-2 to 120-6 in seven balls.
But despite the carnage, Pathum Nissanka kept his composure throughout to get the innings back on track.
The opener ruthlessly punished some loose UAE bowling in a perfectly-paced knock of 74 from 60 balls that included six fours and two sixes, before falling to a stunning catch from Basil Hameed at mid-off in the final over of the innings.
“We are disappointed at the way we ended the innings, we could have ended up with 180 or 190,” said Sri Lanka captain Shanaka.
“The tone was set up front but unfortunately myself and Bhanu [Bhanuka Rajapaksa] didn’t click in the middle.”
Sri Lanka did show their class with the ball to wrap up a comfortable victory.
Dushmantha Chameera (3-15) set the tone in the third over by demolishing the stumps of Muhammad Waseem and Aryan Lakra in the space of four balls.
Chameera then removed skipper Chundangapoyil Rizwan in his next over, before Pramod Madushan bowled Chirag Suri to leave the UAE reeling on 21-4.
That effectively ended the game as a contest, with only three UAE players reaching double figures.
One of those was 16-year-old Aayan Khan, who top-scored with 19 before being bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga, who took 3-8.
A lively cameo from Junaid Siddique (18 from 16 balls) included a huge 109-metre six that went out of the stadium – the biggest six of the tournament so far.
The only concern for Sri Lanka was an apparent injury to Chameera, who pulled up in his run-up and had to leave the field with what looked like a leg injury.
“Going into the game we knew it was important to take the win so we focused on the win only,” added Shanaka, who said he was “hopeful” Chameera has avoided serious injury.
“After getting that score on the board we knew that once Chameera and Hasaranga came into play it was not going to be easy [for the UAE].”