Sports News

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





Compiled by Ranjika Perera

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

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).


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.


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.


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.


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.



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