Sri Lanka had recently won the Asia Cup by getting the better of Pakistan in the final.
Namibia pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of World T20 by defeating Sri Lanka in the opening match of the marquee tournament at Simonds Stadium, Geelong. Sri Lanka had recently won the Asia Cup by getting the better of Pakistan in the final.
Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit were instrumental in Namibia reaching 163-7 in 20 overs after being reduced to 93-6 in 14 overs. Both of them joined forces and plundered 70 runs in the last 6 overs. While Frylinck – who was adjudged Man of the Match – cracked 28-ball 44, Smit blasted an unbeaten 31 off just 15 balls. The latter also clobbered two huge sixes. Their 70-run alliance for the seventh wicket proved decisive in the end.
Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl. Their decision proved fruitful as their bowlers dismissed Michael van Lingen, Divan la Cock and Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton quickly as Namibia slumped to 35-3. Though captain Gerhard Erasmus and Stephan Baard added 41 runs for the 4th wicket, the scoring rate was prosaic.
But Frylinck and Smit lent much-needed impetus to the innings and propelled their team to a respectable total.
In response, Sri Lanka got off to a dreadful start as their openers – Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka – could not reach double digits. While Mendis top-edged a David Wiese delivery while attempting a pull, Nissanka was caught at mid-on. Sri Lanka did not recover from early jolts and kept sinking deeper into the morass.
Namibia 🇳🇦 has told the cricketing world today… “Nam” yaad rakhna! 👏🏻
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 16, 2022
Namibian bowlers varied their pace adroitly and made life difficult for Sri Lankan batters on a pitch which was on the slower side. In a bid to smash their way out of the dumps, Sri Lanka’s batsmen kept holding out. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and the captain Dasun Shanaka tried to resurrect run-chase but stitching up a 34-run stand for the fifth wicket but the required run-rate was soaring.
After Rajapaksa was dismissed by the left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz in the 11th over, Sri Lanka’s innings imploded unceremoniously. In the end, they were bowled out for 108 in 19 overs as Namibia sealed a 55-run victory.
Wiese, Scholtz, Ben Shikongo and Frylinck shared the spoils as each one of them grabbed two scalps.
A host of eminent cricketers, including Sachin Tendulkar, hailed Namibia’s spectacular win on Twitter. Their sparkling performance is also a befitting riposte to naysayers who were against the idea of Associate teams participating in the T20 World Cup.