Dasun Shanaka‘s sensational batting display helped Sri Lanka pull off a memorable victory against Australia in the third and final T20I in Pallekele on Saturday (June 11).
With the series already bagged, Australia went into the third T20I looking to register a whitewash over the Islanders. However, the Sri Lankan captain had some other plans as he went absolute berserk in the final stages of the chase and steered his side to one of the most incredible victories in the shortest format.
It was certainly a next-to-impossible situation as the hosts were reeling at 112/6 after 16 overs, needing 65 runs from 24 deliveries with Shanaka struggling to get going (4 off 10). The equation then became more improbable as Ashton Agar only conceded six runs in the 17th over, leaving Sri Lanka to get 59 off just 18 deliveries.
Shanaka then changed the script and brought back Sri Lanka from the dead to register a thrilling win. He slammed Josh Hazlewood for 21 runs in the 18th over, followed by 18 runs in the penultimate over bowled by Jhye Richardson.
Still, the home team needed 19 runs off the final over bowled by Kane Richardson. But Shanaka was already in the mood to script history as he smashed the bowler for three boundaries, including a six, to win the game with one ball to spare and four wickets in hand. Shanaka scored unbeaten 54 off just 25 deliveries, with the help of five fours and four sixes.
Earlier, notable contributions from David Warner (39), Steve Smith 38 (not out), and Marcus Stoinis (38) helped the visitors post a competitive total of 176/5 on the board in their allotted 20 overs. Maheesh Theekshana was again impressive with his bowling. He conceded only 25 runs in his quota of f4 overs and also picked up a couple of wickets.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Dasun Shanaka breaks free, smashes 54 off 25 as Sri Lanka stage incredible win over Australia!
Full Match Highlights: https://t.co/KSPqAKe43j#SLvAUS #CheerForLions pic.twitter.com/FEiq0yTwva
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) June 12, 2022
Wow!What a finish @dasun_shanaka well done Lions!🇱🇰
— Mickey Arthur (@Mickeyarthurcr1) June 11, 2022
Dasun Shanaka becomes the first ever player to score 50+ runs in the death overs of a T20I chase.#SLvAUS
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) June 11, 2022
Dasun Shanaka’s last 13 balls against Australia in the third T20I:
6, 6, 4, 4, 1, 6, 1, 4, 1, 1, 4, 4, 6#SLvAUS
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) June 11, 2022
We have seen it before that Dasun Shanaka doesn’t just have enough firepower but he seems to have some ticker too.
— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) June 11, 2022
Sri Lanka needed 59 from the last three overs…
And got there, thanks to Dasun Shanaka #SLvAUS pic.twitter.com/eaBhVu8dyP
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) June 11, 2022
6,6,4,4 by Dasun Shanaka against Josh Hazelwood – incredible batting from the captain, he even played well vs India.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) June 11, 2022
Dasun Shanaka’s last 13 scoring shots today against Australia:
6 4 4 1 1 4 1 6 1 4 4 6 6#SLvAUS #Cricket
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) June 11, 2022
Dasun Shanaka Remember the name. Leading From the Front what a remarkable Chase by Srilanka. We want to see Dasun Shanaka in IPL and hope in next year IPL. #SLvAUS pic.twitter.com/oXDJGlhAhn
— Ayush Ranjan (@AyushRa15743279) June 11, 2022
Extraordinary scenes. Srilankan captain Dasun Shanaka has spread immense joy among his whole nation in such times of despair by playing one of the greatest T20i innings you will ever see.
70 required off 5 overs with 4 wickets remaining looked almost impossible.#SriLanka #SLvAUS pic.twitter.com/QrmIXOeWZE
— We Speak Cricket (@WeSpeakCricket) June 11, 2022