With a comfortable 16-run victory over the Netherlands on Thursday in Geelong, Sri Lanka entered the T20 World Cup’s Super 12 round without much difficulty. Kusal Mendis smashed a timely half-century and Wanindu Hasaranga claimed three wickets.
On a bright afternoon at Kardinia Park, the wicketkeeper-dashing batsman’s 79 from 44 enabled Sri Lanka reach 162 for six before the talismanic Hasaranga assisted in holding the Netherlands to 146 for nine despite an unbeaten 71 from the opener Max O’Dowd.
The victory eliminated the winless United Arab Emirates from the competition and propelled Sri Lanka to the top of Group A ahead of second-placed Netherlands.
In their first qualifying match, Sri Lanka was defeated by Namibia, but they recovered by thumping the UAE.
We anticipated being the group’s favorites when we arrived at the World Cup, said captain Dasun Shanaka.
“Unfortunately, we came up short in the first game, but we rallied and performed well.
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“I believed the pitch to be difficult to bat on; it was somewhat two-faced. I believe we did a great job of controlling the scoring pace in the first 10 overs.
The Netherlands is anxiously awaiting the late encounter between the UAE and third-placed Namibia at Kardinia Park.
With a victory, Namibia would move ahead of the Netherlands as one of the top two teams in the group because to their higher run rate.
Scott Edwards, captain of the Netherlands, said, “Hopefully the UAE can help us get through, but it was in our hands and just sorry we weren’t quite there tonight.”
In order to replace Dushmantha Chameera, who was disqualified from the competition on Wednesday, and the injured Pramod Madushan, the Asia Cup winners of Sri Lanka called in Lahiru Kumara and left-armer Binura Fernando.
A small but enthusiastic audience of Sri Lankan supporters watched Maheesh Theekshana take 2-32 as the replacement seamers each contributed one wicket.
The Netherlands made a strong start in their pursuit but ran into trouble as the powerplay came to an end, losing two wickets in the space of four balls and falling to 47 for three in the seventh over.
The runs stopped as Shanaka bowled cleanly off the seam and all-rounder Hasaranga went to work with his legspin.
The Netherlands attempted to plod their way out of difficulty with 100 runs needed off the final 10 overs, but Hasaranga’s swift double-strike in the 17th over all but ended the game.
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