Dilshan Madushanka Player of the Match 3/18, Sahan Arachchige 57
By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka made light of a high riding Netherlands wining the qualifying round final of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup by a 128-run margin at the Harare Sports Club Grounds on Sunday for a clean sweep at that level. In a contest of academic interest, both sides having already joined the top eight, the former world champions, making use of the opportunity to experimenting a few new faces in the last two outings, this time around resting opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, totaled 233 with the last 7 wickets falling for 53, 13 deliveries short of going the distance of 50 overs, an undermining eye opener for Dasun Shanaka’s batsmen going into tougher battle ahead. Particularly, the run ups should serve as a turning point for the Lankan skipper who again fell cheaply.
SHANAKA CAN STILL COME BACK BIG
No slouch with the bat, Shanaka still has that much of time off to do his home-work, get back to rhythm and come back to the showpiece 13th edition that commences on October 5 in the run making act that has eluded him where Sri Lanka needs him as never before to get going when the going gets tough. In the current form slump he is undergoing, Shanaka must certainly be given the benefit of the ups and downs of the form book that has bugged the greatest of batsmen.
Of course, in that last charge of the qualifiers, the Lankan camp would be buoyed by the form of late entrants Sahan Arachchige, who got a break in the last two, top scoring against the Netherlands with his maiden ODI half century, and Dilshan Madushanka, who came in for the injured Lahiru Kumara, among the wickets.
The left-handed Arachchige’s 57 off 71 balls with 3 boundaries, promoted in the pivotal No.3 slot in only his second ODI appearance, saw the 27-year old underline his potential as a batsman for a situation notwithstanding the plus point as a wily off spinner.
Meanwhile, Madushanka, the 22-year old left arm pacer in his few outings progressively reached a pitch as a late entry with a 3 for 18 Player of the Match decimation of the Dutch top order in only his seventh ODI appearance. The Netherlands were shot out for 105 in 22.3 overs with the varied Lankan pace-spin attack on song in making sure minnows Netherlands were throttled right up there. As it were the superior Lankan bowling attack proved too much for the Dutch both times they met. Maheesh Theekshana followed up his previous two Player of the Match performances with another 4 for 31 clean up, and ace leggie Wanindu Hasaranga claimed 2 for 35.
Sri Lanka 233 47.5 Overs)
(Sahan Arachchige 57, Kusal Mendis 43, Charith Asalanka 36, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 29, Pathum Nissanka 23, Sadeera Samarawickrama 19, Maheesh Theekshana 13, Vikramjit Singh 2/12, Logan van Beek 2/40, Ryan Klein 2/42, Saqib Zulfiqar 2/59)
Netherlands 105 (22.3 Overs)
(Max O’Dowd 33, Logan van Beek n.o. 20, Vikramjit Singh 13, Maheesh Theekshana 4/31, Dilshan Madushanka 3/18, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2/35)