World T20: Unbeaten Sri Lanka crush Netherlands ahead of Super 12 showdown
Sri Lanka maintained their 100% win record in Round One of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with a thumping eight-wicket victory over the Netherlands at Sharjah.
Set a paltry target of 45 by the Netherlands, Sri Lanka completed the formalities in 7.1 overs to set the record for the largest margin of victory in Men’s T20 World Cup history.
Kusal Perera, who had scored only 11 runs in the tournament so far, used the opportunity to find his touch, scoring an unbeaten 24-ball 33.
Unlike the batters, the bowlers gave the Dutch something to celebrate, with Brandon Glover and Paul van Meekeren scalping a wicket each.
Earlier in the day, the Sri Lankan bowlers justified their captain’s decision to bowl first as they skittled the Netherlands out to 44, the second-lowest total in Men’s T20 World Cup history.
Field day for Sri Lankan bowlers
The Netherlands got off a terrible start when in-form Max O’Dowd was caught short of his crease after a direct hit from Dasun Shanaka.
Maheesh Theekshana, who has enjoyed two brilliant outings so far in the T20 World Cup, had the Dutch batters befuddled with his mystery spin. Stephan Myburgh and Ben Cooper were both outfoxed by the carrom ball that went on to rattle the stumps.
Wanindu Hasaranga was not going to be left behind, with the wrist-spinner trapping Colin Ackermann and Bas de Leede in front of the stumps in a space of three balls. By the end of the fifth over, The Netherlands had half their side back in the hut.
It went from bad to worse for the Dutch when veteran Roelof van der Merwe departed before the Powerplay.
The Netherlands ensured that the game wasn’t a repeat of the 2014 World Cup match against Sri Lanka where they succumbed to 39, the lowest score in the history of the tournament.
However, as soon as they went past the dreaded number, they lost another, with Hasaranga bamboozling skipper Pieter Seelaar.
Lahiru Kumara cleaned up the rest of the batting line-up with three wickets in the 10th over to put the Netherlands out of their misery as they were skittled out for 44.
Sri Lanka finish Round One top of Group A and will head into a Super 12 pool containing defending champions West Indies and top-ranked side England, as well as Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh. (WT20)