Game 4 of the T20 World Cup saw Sri Lanka and Namibia lock horns at the Sheikh Zayad Cricket Stadium. Sri Lanka after early jerks did well and at the end got to the required quite comfortably, a disappointing display from Namibia who were very ordinary and Sri Lanka didn’t fail to bag a good win to get their campaign underway with a win.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opt to bowl first. SRI LANKA’S XI : Kusal Perera (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (C), Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara.
NAMIBIA’S XI : Stephan Baard, Zane Green (wk), Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (C), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz.
A defensive start by Namibian openers and bowling change of Maheesh Theekshana in the 3rd over striked ball 1 as Stephan Baard walked back on 7(11). No big overs and Namibia kept the scorecard ticking with 1’s and 2’s but Criag Williams broke the deadlock and smashed a maximum before opener Zane Green walked back on 8(13) and Namibia finished powerplay on 30-2. They intended to switch gares but just manage 1 big over as Sri Lanka continued to bowl tight lines and at halfway mark Namibia were 54-2. The dot ball pressure then started to act and the need was to press the accelerator, Erasmus tried to shift gares but walked back on 20(19) and Lahiru Kumara got the breakthrough wicket. One wicket gets another, Wanindu Hasaranga striked and set batter, Craig Williams departed on 29(36). With both set batters back in pavilion Sri Lanka had a comeback window and didn’t let momentum slip, capitalised and forced Namibia a collapsed with string of low scores. JJ Smits held an end but fell short of partners on the other as Wiese on 6, Jan Frylinck on 2, Eaton on 3, Ruben and Pikky on 1 made their way back and JJ Smits remained unbeaten on 12(15) that saw Namibia post 96 on board. From 68-3 in 12.2 to 96-10 in 19.3 it was a horror collapse from Namibia.
Credit to Sri Lanka who with aggresive bowling got themselves back in the contest completely. It was a brilliant collective bowling performance. Spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana with economy of 6 and 6.2 bagged a couple and three wickets respectively. Pacers on show Chamika, Dushmantha and Lahiru bowled with economy under 5, both Chamika and Dushmantha bagged a wicket each and Lahiru had a couple to his name.
Wiese started well with the ball and Ruben was welcomed with a couple of boundaries but had the last laugh as he picked up a key wicket of Kusal Perera on 11(8). Bernard Scholtz was into the attack and picked up a wicket in his first over as Nissanka walked back on 5(6). Tight stuff from Namibia and the bowling change of JJ Smit worked as in his first ball he picked up the wicket of a struggling Chandimal on 5(12). Fernando with a couple of hits got Sri Lanka finish powerplay on 37-3. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Avishka Fernando knowing it isn’t a big total settled in and then shifted gares as runs, boundaries and maximums kept flowing for Sri Lanka in regular intervals and an intentful 50 run partnership was on board between the duo. Bhanuka and Avishka remained unbeaten on 42(27) and 30(28) respectively. The 74 run unbeaten partnership saw the duo comfortably finish the game for Sri Lanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa with a 6 got Sri Lanka to the 100 mark and finished the game in style. A dominant 7 wicket win for Sri Lanka.
Bowling from Namibia was very ordinary, David Wiese bowled a couple and was good on display. Ruben and Bernard bowled 3 each and had a wicket each to their names but Ruben’s economy was on the expensive side. Jan Frylinck in his 1.3 overs was expensive. JJ Smit, Pikky, Jan Nicol and Gerhard bowled an over each and were all economical on display with JJ being the successful bowler with a wicket to his name.
Namibia didn’t stand up to expectations as a horror batting collapse pushed them on backfoot. Sri Lankan top order did make the game intresting as Namibia striked early wickets before Bhanuka and Avishka finsihed the game. Sri Lanka will look to carry the momentum eyeing a super 12 qualification.