AUSTRALIA: Namibia has accomplished what is arguably the biggest surprise in the history of their men’s team by defeating Asia Cup Champions Sri Lanka by 55 runs. Previously, they had achieved this feat when they defeated ‘World Cup regulars’ Ireland in the last T20 World Cup.
Ben Shikongo took two wickets in two balls during the powerplay, while David Wiese and Jan Frylinck also made crucial catches. After Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit helped Namibia escape a precarious scenario, their seamers scythed their way through Sri Lanka’s batting order.
The game wasn’t even close in the end. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka managed the top score of their innings, 34, for Sri Lanka, who never seemed to be in control of the 164-run chase.
On a slow Geelong surface that encouraged pace off the ball, Namibia’s bowlers consistently changed up their tempo. The batters for Sri Lanka continued striking out. Eventually, at the conclusion of the 19th over, they were all out for 108.
This was the game’s turning moment; with 34 balls remaining in the innings, Namibia was 93 for 6. Given how swiftly wickets were falling and that their most renowned batsmen were already out, they appeared bound for a score of less than 140.
Frylinck and Smit, though, put on a stunning seventh-wicket stand at this point. They had combined to score 70 runs off the final 34 balls, raising their total to a respectable amount.
In pursuit of 164, Sri Lanka was in for a shock. David Wiese dismissed opener Kusal Mendis in the second over for six runs. Another medium pacer, Ben Shikongo, removed Pathum Nissanka (9) and Danushka Gunathilaka (0) in quick succession, alarming the opposing camp. Sri Lanka scored only 21 runs in 3.3 overs.
Later, the skipper, Dasun Shanaka, joined Rajapaksa, and they had to perform some significant repairs. The pair kept the scoreboard moving and safely brought Sri Lanka to the halfway point of the innings. Sri Lanka stood at 72/4 after 10 overs thanks to Rajapaksa (19) and Shanaka (22). Sri Lanka appeared to have a chance to win the game back.
When everything appeared to be going smoothly for Sri Lanka, spinner Bernard Scholtz delivered the Asia Cup champions two shocks by returning Rajapaksa (20) and Wanindu Hasaranga (4). Shanaka, the captain, was returned for 29 off 23 balls after Frylinck also secured his second wicket of the game.
Due to poor shot selection, Chamika Karunaratne (5) and Dushmantha Chameera (8) lost their wickets, and Namibia managed to defeat the recently crowned Asia Cup champions. Sri Lanka lost the match by a score of 55 runs after being bowled out for 108 in 19 overs.