Sri Lanka started their ICC T20 World Cup 2021 campaign on an auspicious note defeating Namibia by 7 wickets in their opening Group A match yesterday, but not before the early shock of losing 3 wickets for 26 runs before Bhanuka Rajapaksa settled the issue smashing an unbeaten 42 off 27 deliveries with Avishka Fernando on the other end striking 30 off 28 as Sri Lanka reached 100 for 3 off 13.3 overs chasing Namibia’s 96 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The left handed Rajapaksa’s cameo was timely hitting 2 sixes and 4 boundaries while the right handed Fernando paced out his innings reeling off 2 sixes.
After having bowled out Namibia for 96 in 19.3 overs after winning the toss and deciding to field, Sri Lanka’s run chase was dealt early blows by Namibia when Kusal Janith Perera was sent back by Ruben Trumpelmnn for 11 offering a catch to Smit. It became 18 for 2 when Pathum Nissanka was trapped leg before wicket for 5 by Bernard Scholtz off the final delivery of the third over and when Dinesh Chandimal followed 8 runs later taken by Green off Smit Sri Lanka was in all sorts of trouble at 26 for 3 after 5.1 overs. But Bhanuka Rajapaksa changed all that in a flurry as he put on 74 runs off 50 balls with No.4 Avishka Fernando in hastening Sri Lanka to victory with 21 balls to spare.
Namibia’s innings started shakily losing Stephan Baard for 7 with the total 10 to Maheesh Theekshana who had him caught by Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva off his very first delivery of the third over of the innings. When he bowled Zane Green for 8 off the fourth delivery of his next over and the fifth of the innings Namibia were 2 for 29, but recovered to 68 for 3 through the third wicket partnership of 39 runs between Craig Williams who made 29 off 36 inclusive of 2 sixes and skipper Gerhard Erasmus 20 off 19. But when Wanindu Hasaranga trapped Williams leg before wicket Namibia was at sea to the Lankan pace-spin attack of Lahiru Kumara 2 for 9, Theekshana 3 for 25 and Hasaranga 2 for 24 losing their last 6 wickets for 30 runs with the former returning figures of 3 for 25 to clinch the Player of the Match award.
Namibia 96 (19.3 Overs) RR: 4.92
(Craig Williams 29, Gerhard Erasmus 20, J.J. Smit n.o. 12, Maheesh Theekshana 3/25, Lahiru Kumara 2/9, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2/24)
Sri Lanka 100/3 (13.3 Overs) RR: 7.40
(Bhanuka Rajapaksa n.o. 42, Avishka Fernando n.o. 30)