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Beat Namibia by seven wickets: Sri Lanka kick things off with a comfortable win

a year ago

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        Compiled by Ranjika Perera [caption id="attachment_168451" align="alignleft" width="455"] Maheesh Theekshana, who took a wicket in his first ball in international cricket, took a wicket in his first ball of the T20 World Cup 2021 too yesterday (18) against Namibia in Abu Dhabi. Photo ICC[/caption] Dasun Shanaka won the toss and elected to field first. The Lankan bowlers showcased their best as they restricted Namibia to 96 runs. Despite a stutter at the top, Sri Lanka got over the line with seven wickets in hand and 39 balls to spare in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty 20 (T20) Men’s World Cup qualifying round or First Round first match for the Sri Lankans, in Abu Dhabi yesterday (18). KEY PERFORMANCE The bowlers were right on cue for the Lankans to get the campaign off to a brilliant start. The spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana shared five wickets between them but the highlight of the match was Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera’s searing pace. They put immense pressure on the Namibians from the word go. Given the fragile batting line-up of Sri Lanka, it was vital the bowlers restricted Namibia to a lower total. SECOND INNINGS The Lions would have wanted to chase down the target with minimum collateral damage. But, they didn’t make it any easier for themselves. Kusal Perera scored two back-to-back boundaries before mistiming a wild slog off Ruben Trumpelmann. His opening partner Pathum Nissanka followed in the next over, putting Sri Lanka at 18/2. It got worse when Dinesh Chandimal was dismissed by Johannes Jonathan (JJ) Smit in his first ball. However, in-form Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa steadied the ship and guided Sri Lanka over the line. THE FIRST INNINGS Sri Lankan seamers put together a fiery spell up front to push back Namibia inside ‘the power play’. Kumara and Chameera clocked over 140 kmph continuously to trouble the batters. However, it was Theekshana who benefitted from it with two wickets inside ‘the power play’. Skipper Gerhard Erasmus, together with Craig Williams, managed to consolidate in the middle overs, but their slow run-rate cost Namibia of laying down a launch pad to post a challenging total. Apart from Erasmus and Williams, others failed to contribute and Namibia succumbed to 96 runs. IN DEPTH Chameera continued from where he left as he showed good control and express pace throughout his spell. Kumara, who tends to struggle with control, showed improvement and variation in his spell. The pair could be vital, going forward in the tournament for the Lankans. Sri Lanka’s overall bowling performance was commendable. If Sri Lanka are to go deep in to the tournament, they would need their bowler to be at their best at all times. SCORECARD Namibia Stephan Baard c De Silva b Theekshana 7 Zane Green (wk) c Shanaka b Theekshana 8 Craig Williams lbw De Silva 29 Gerhard Erasmus (Capt.) c De Silva b Kumara 20 David Wiese lbw Karunaratne 6 Johannes Jonathan Smit not out 12 Jan Frylinck b Theekshana 2 Nicol Loftie-Eaton lbw De Silva 3 Ruben Trumpelmann c Shanaka b Chameera 1 Pikky Ya France b Kumara 1 Bernard Scholtz run out (Nissanka) 0 Extras (2 lb, 1 nb, 4wd) 7 Total (all out in19.3 overs) 96 Fall of Wickets: 1-10 (Baard), 2-29 (Green), 3-68 (Erasmus), 4-73 (Williams), 5-79 (Wiese), 6-84 (Frylinck), 7-90 (Loftie-Eaton), 8-93 (Trumpelmann), 9-96 (Ya France), 10-96 (Scholtz) Bowling: Chamika Karunaratne 4-0-17-1 (wd 1), Dushmantha Chameera 4-0-19-1 (wd 1), Maheesh Theekshana 4-0-25-3 (wd 2), Lahiru Kumara 3.3-0-9-2, Wanindu Hasaranga 4-0-24-2 (nb 1) Sri Lanka Kusal Perera (wk) c Smit b Trumpelmann 11 Pathum Nissanka lbw Scholtz 5 Dinesh Chandimal c Green b Smit 5 Avishka Fernando not out 30 Bhanuka Rajapaksha not out 42 Extras (1lb, 3wd) 4 Total (for 8 wkts in 20 overs) 120 Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Perera), 2-18 (Nissanka), 3-26 (Chandimal) Did not bat: Dasun Shanaka (Capt.),Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunarathne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara Bowling: David Wiese 2-0-11-0 (wd 1), Ruben Trumpelmann 3-0-27-1, Bernard Scholtz 3-0-16-1 (wd 1), J.J. Smit 1-0-7-1, Pikky Ya France 1-0-6-0, Nicol Loftie-Eaton 1-0-7-0, Jay Frylinck 1.3-0-17-0, Gerhard Erasmus 1-0-5-0 (wd 1) Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi Toss: Sri Lanka Result: Sri Lanka won by seven wickets Player of the Match: Maheesh Theekshana (Sri Lanka) T20I No.: 1313 Umpires: Adrian Holdstock and Paul Reiffel