Two days after winning Group A, the Netherlands are now at the mercy of the UAE for qualifying, after Sri Lanka upset them by 16 runs to move to the Super 12s on Thursday. Kusal Mendis’ 44-ball 79 set the tone for a winning score, while the bowlers collaborated brilliantly to hamper the Netherlands’ chase.

With this defeat, Netherlands has slipped to second with an NRR of -0.162. To qualify for the Super 12s alongside Sri Lanka, UAE must defeat Namibia in the afternoon match. Netherlands gets off to a shaky start with the ball.

Mendis, bowlers propel Sri Lanka to the Super 12s

Mendis, bowlers propel Sri Lanka to the Super 12s

Scott Edwards’ team has been tight in the early stages of this World Cup, conceding at a rate of only 5.33 in the PowerPlay. They did it again on a day when their opponent, Sri Lanka, chose to bat first. Edwards threw both his left-arm spinners – Tom Pringle and Roelof van der Merwe – at Sri Lanka’s right-handed opening pair and tied them down on a true surface in Geelong. Sri Lanka reached 36/0 in 6 overs thanks to a 14-run over in the sixth, which included the first six of the innings.

Paul van Meekeren lashes out.

The tall and lanky pacer bowled over 140kph and peppered Nissanka with a couple of short balls into his body to make the batter hop. Van Meekeren followed that with a 146kmph pin-point yorker at the base of the off-stump, which Nissanka couldn’t get under. Dhananjaya de Silva, a one-drop batter, was hit on the front pad with full and inswinging delivery on the next ball. Marais Erasmus responded positively to the Netherlands’ request for LBW, and Dhananjaya declined to review it. Replays revealed that the ball would have missed the leg stump, much to his dismay.

Bas de Leede – the severing of ties

With his exceptional change of pace, the medium-pacer broke dangerous stands twice in the remaining Sri Lankan innings. He got Asalanka to swing hard and nick one to the keeper for a 30-ball 31 before dismissing Bhanuka Asalanka, who hit a low full toss to the long-on fielder to fall for 19 off 13.
Mendis is enraged by the death.

Fred Klaasen missed the memo on a ground where hitting boundaries square of the wicket has become easier. In the 19th over, he bowled two short balls to Mendis, who duly dispatched them over the square leg fence for two sixes. It provided Sri Lanka with a much-needed boost at the end, as they smashed 24 off the final two overs. Mendis nearly carried the team, scoring 79 off 44 deliveries to help the side recover in the second half. Fifty of those runs were fours or sixes.

Batting fluency is an issue in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands would have gone into the innings break lamenting the fact that they conceded 15-20 runs more than they should have given their poor start. To make matters worse, Sri Lanka started well with the ball, denying easy runs in the PowerPlay. Dushmantha Chameera’s replacement, Maheesh Theekshana, and Lahiru Kumara struck early to leave Netherlands with a PP score of 40 for 2.

Wanindu Hasaranga’s magic began immediately after this period, as he struck in his first over, but Netherlands reached the halfway point with a score similar to Sri Lanka’s – 63/3 – and needed to ramp up the scoring significantly in the second half.

Why couldn’t they do that?

Despite opener Max O’Dowd fighting on from the other end, they were held back by regular wickets. The Netherlands went from 72 for 3 to 105 for 6 in the 16th over. Hasaranga then took the game out of the hands of the Netherlands with a double-wicket over where he foxed Timm van der Gugten with a googly and Fred Klaassen was undone by a low ball.

In the 17th over, they were down to 109 for 8. How did they manage to lose by only 16 points?

Because of O’Dowd’s fortitude. With the asking rate well above 10, he farmed the strike, looking to play big shots and narrow the equation as much as possible, and got a fine half-century in the process. Sri Lanka appeared to win the game when Paul van Meekeren w run out, but an injured Roelof van der Merwe walked out to bat at number 11.

When O’Dowd smashed a no-ball from Theekshana for a six, the Netherlands needed 39 runs off the last 12. By following it up with two wides, the spinner erred in line. O’Dowd then received another six. That overproduced as many as 16 runs, leaving O’Dowd to fetch 23 in the final. The Netherlands opener got this far but couldn’t go any further as Kumara bowled sharp short balls to both batters and limited them to six runs in the final over. O’Dowd finished unbeaten – but disappointed – on 71 off 53 with six fours and three sixes.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 162/6 (Kusal Mendis 79, Charith Asalanka 31; Paul van Meekeren 2-25) defeated Netherlands 146/9 (Max O’Dowd 71*; Wanindu Hasaranga 3-28) by 16 runs in 20 overs.

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