T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka beat Netherlands to qualify for Super 12

GEELONG: Opener Kusal Mendis played an astounding knock of 44-ball 79 before spinners stormed through the Netherlands’ batting line to help Sri Lanka qualify for the Super 12 round as they cruised past the unbeaten dutch side by 16 runs, here on Thursday.

After an upset defeat in the opening game of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, Sri Lanka bounced back in Group A as they secured their second win of the first round.

Set to chase a respectable target of 163, opener Max O’Dowd starred with an unbeaten 71 off 53 laced with six fours and two sixes amid a dismal show by the rest of the Netherlands’ batters.

Sri Lankan spinners Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva and Maheesh Theekshana led the charge of the bowling attack as they shared five wickets between them to reduce the dutch side to 146/9 in the allotted 20 overs. 

Hasaranga returned the sensational figures of 3/28 in his four overs while Theekshana pocketed two wickets. Pacers Binura Fernando and Lahiru Kumara also clinched a wicket each.

Earlier, the wicket-keeper batter Mendis smashed five fours and as many sixes before he was caught out in the final over while trying to slog sweep medium pacer Timm van der Gugten. His charismatic knock helped Sri Lanka to raise 161/6 after they opted to bat first.

No 4 batter Charith Asalanka combined excellently with Mendis when Sri Lanka were jolted by Paul van Meekere’s dual strikes in the 7th over which slid them to 36/2. The two raised a valiant 60-run partnership for the fifth wicket before the left-hander fell prey to Bas de Leede after scoring 31 off 30.

Mendis led the charge for his team while Bhanuka Rajapaksa (19 off 13) and skipper Dasun Sanaka (8 off 5) played a side role during the innings.

Sri Lanka went through a slow start and managed only 36 runs in the powerplay before van Meekeren castled Pathum Nissanka (14 off 21) and then plumbed Dhananjaya de Silva on a golden duck. 

For the Netherlands, van Meekeren and de Leede grabbed two wickets each while van der Gugten had just one scalp to his credit.