Geelong, Australia: Kusal Mendis blasted a timely half-century and Wanindu Hasaranga took three wickets as Sri Lanka eased into the Super 12 phase of the T20 World Cup with a 16-run win over the Netherlands in Geelong on Thursday.
The Dutch side also made the Super 12 as the second team from Group A after UAE did them a massive favour by beating Namibia by seven runs despite David Wiese’s valiant 55.
Mendis’ swashbuckling 79 from 44 drove Sri Lanka to 162 for six on a sunny afternoon at Kardinia Park before the talismanic Hasaranga helped restrict Netherlands to 146 for nine, despite an unbeaten 71 from opener Max O’Dowd.
Steadying the campaign
Sri Lanka joined champions Australia, England, Afghanistan and New Zealand in Group I of the Super 12 stage.
The 2014 champions were stunned by Namibia in their first qualifier, but steadied their campaign by thrashing the UAE.
“We knew that when we came to the World Cup we would be the favourites in this group,” said Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka.
“Unfortunately, we missed out in the first game, but we regrouped and we came back strong.”
With injuries tearing through Sri Lanka’s bowling unit, the Asia Cup champions brought in Lahiru Kumara and left-armer Binura Fernando in place of Dushmantha Chameera, who was ruled out of the tournament on Wednesday, and the sidelined Pramod Madushan.
The replacement seamers each chipped in a wicket, while Maheesh Theekshana took 2-32 in front of a modest but buoyant crowd of Sri Lankan fans.
The Netherlands started well in their chase but came to grief as the powerplay wound up, losing two wickets in four balls to fall to 47 for three in the seventh over.
The runs dried up as all-rounder Hasaranga went to work with his leg-spin and Shanaka bowled tidily off the seam.
Needing 100 runs off the last 10 overs, Netherlands tried to slog their way out of trouble but a quick double-strike by Hasaranga in the 17th over all but wrapped up the match.