Spinners Hasaranga, Theekshana also shine
Sri Lanka batters Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa took Sri Lanka over the line against Namibia after early stutters in their round one match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Monday.
Chasing a meagre 97-run target, Sri Lanka were reeling at 26-3 at the start of the fifth over as openers Pathun Nissanka and Kusal Perera and seasoned batter Dinesh Chandimal fell early.
However, Fernando and Bhanuka took charge after that and collaborated for a third-wicket partnership of 74 runs to give Sri Lanka their first win at the T20 cricket’s showpiece event with seven overs to spare.
Fernando scored 30 off 28 balls, hitting two sixes, while Rajapaksa contributed 42 off 27 balls. The latter smashed four fours and two sixes.
Earlier, spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga claimed five wickets between them to help Sri Lanka dismiss debutants Namibia for 96.
Theekshana struck with his first ball and returned figures of 3-25 following Sri Lanka’s decision to bowl in the second Group A encounter of the day in Abu Dhabi.
Theekshana, a mystery spinner, was ably supported by Hasaranga’s leg spin.
Craig Williams with his 29, skipper Gerhard Erasmus, 20, and JJ Smit, unbeaten on 12, were the only three batsmen to manage double figures.
Pace bowler Lahiru Kumara struck twice and returned to wrap up the innings with a wicket and a run out from Pathum Nissanka as Namibia were bowled out in 19.3 overs.
Earlier in the day’s first match, Ireland thrashed Netherlands by seven wickets.
— Samaa Sports (@samaasport) October 18, 2021