Pathum Nissanka back to back tons, Maheesh Theekshana 4/34
By Srian Obeyesekere
Opening batsman Pathum Nissanka struck back to back centuries as Sri Lanka drubbed the West Indies, the once dominant force in world cricket by 8 wickets sweeping to 244 in reply to the twice world cup winners 243 all out in 48.1 overs at the Harare Sports Club Grounds on Friday in an unbeaten run of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying stage.
Put in to bat, the West Indies did post a challenging score of 243 having recovered from a dismal 81 for 5 on a 96-ball 87 by Keacy Carty inclusive of 6 boundaries and a six, but Sri Lanka, the former champions of 1996, made light of the target with Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne 83 off 92 inclusive of 7 boundaries putting on 190 for the first wicket – the highest partnership in the run up stage. Kusal Mendis 34 off 43 with 3 boundaries and Sadeera Samarawickrama a run a ball 17 tucked with a boundary applied the finishing touches.
The West Indians were decimated by a varied Lankan attack that saw Dushan Hemantha and all-rounder Sahan Arachchige in the starting line with Dhananjaya de Silva making way for the latter as Maheesh Theekshana picked up his second 4-wicket haul for 34 runs for the Player of the Match award.
The West Indies, an apology to the strong arm Clive Lloyd era when the Caribbean nation held sway winning the inaugural world cup in 1975 as well as the second edition in 1979 when it boasted of batting powerhouses of the likes of Vivian Richards and Lloyd himself, continued to remain in the doldrums its cricket has slipped to for over four decades, crashing out of the 13th edition of the game’s glamour event having on the way taken a beating at the hands of the Netherlands.
Accordingly, Sri Lanka will meet the Netherlands in the final of the qualifying tournament on Sunday, but the result will be inconsequential, both teams having already qualified to play in the world cup joining the top eight – reigning champions England, host country India, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Dutch last featured in an ODI World Cup back in 2011, when the tournament was last held in India. Netherlands has also featured in the 1996, 2003 and 2007 editions of the World Cup. The Netherlands became the tenth country to qualify after table leaders Sri Lanka following their 4-wicket triumph over Scotland on Thursday.
The Dutch last featured in an ODI World Cup back in 2011, when the extravaganza was last held in India. Netherlands has also featured in the 1996, 2003 and 2007 editions of the World Cup.
West Indies 243 (48.1 Overs)
(Keacy Carty 87, Johnson Charles 39, Romario Shepherd 26, Kevin Sinclair 25, Kyle Mayers 18, Nicholas Pooran 14, Brandon King 10, Maheesh Theekshana 4/34, Dushan Hemantha 2/49, Dushan Hemantha 2/49, Sahan Arachchiige 1/18, Dasun Shanaka 1/27, Dilshan Madushanka 1/49, Matheesha Pathirana 1/61)
Sri Lanka 244/2 (44.2 Overs)
(Pathum Nissanka 104, 14, Dimuth Karunaratne 83, Kusal Mendis n.o. 34, 3, Sadeera Samarawickrama n.o. 17, 1,Kevin Sinclair 1/52, Akeal Hosein 1/54)