With the majority of the fans at the Sri Lanka-Japan Friendship Stadium, Diyagama being Sri Lankan, the cheer was grand as Sri Lanka grabbed an early lead on its way to a 10-2 victory over Iran on Thursday.
Sri Lanka began its story on the scoreboard through an error by Iran in the 1st inning, followed by a single by Iresh Kosala and a double by Sameera Rathnayake in the 2nd inning which gave them a 3 run lead and allowed them to pull away for good.
Saliya Wijesinghe led things off on the pitcher’s mound for Sri Lanka. He surrendered two runs on one hit over one and two-thirds innings, striking out three.
Mohammed Safdari started the game for Iran. He allowed eight hits and eight runs over five innings, striking out one. Kavel Chahbejari and Amir Arefinia entered the game from the bullpen, throwing two and two-thirds innings and one-third of an inning respectively.
With the defending champions of the West Asia Baseball Cup, Sri Lanka enters the playoffs poised to repeat as champions as they racked up a total of 9 hits. Rathnayake and Niroshan Sriyarathna each managed multiple hits for Sri Lanka with Rathnayake leading with 3 hits in 5 at bat. Gunasekara made the most plays with nine.