Geelong: The great history of spectacular upsets in T20 cricket had another chapter added as Namibia secured a 55-run win over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at Kardinia Park, Geelong, on Sunday.
After big-hitting fireworks from Jan Frylinck (44) and JJ Smit (31 not out) helped Namibia post a competitive 163/7 in 20 overs, the bowlers produced a superb collective show, mixed their fuller and short lengths well to bowl out Sri Lanka for 108 in 19 overs for a historic win over a major cricketing nation.
Frylinck backed up his superb batting performance with a brilliant 2/26 in his four overs to be adjudged Player of the Match in Namibia’s famous victory and ease their path towards a Super 12 qualification while causing a huge dent in Sri Lanka’s net run rate.
Apart from him, David Wiese, Bernard Scholtz and Ben Shikongo took two wickets apiece.
In defence of 163/7 on a two-paced pitch, Wiese brought the first breakthrough for Namibia, as Kusal Mendis top-edged a pull on his short ball to keeper in the second over.
Shikongo broke the back of Sri Lanka’s innings with his back-to-back double strikes in a maiden fourth over.
While Pathum Nissanka holed out to mid-on, Danushka Gunathilaka poked at a nipping away delivery and gave an outer edge behind to keeper to depart for a golden duck. Post power-play, Dhananjaya de Silva was next to depart, mistiming a flick to long leg off Frylinck.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka added 34 runs for the fifth wicket, before the former mistimed a slog to deep mid-wicket off left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz. Wanindu Hasaranga was next to fall, slog-sweeping straight to deep mid-wicket off Scholtz.
When Shanaka fell by top-edging a slog to keeper off Frylinck, a victory for Namibia was just inevitable.
Brief Scores: Namibia 163/7 in 20 overs (Jan Frylinck 44, JJ Smit 31 not out; Maheesh Theekshana 1/23, Wanindu Hasaranga 1/27) beat Sri Lanka 108 all out in 19 overs (Dasun Shanaka 29, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 20; David Wiese 2/16, Bernard Scholtz 2/18) by 55 runs.