- Kasun Rajitha & Dilshan Madushanka 4 wickets each
By Srian Obeyesekere
Sadeera Samarawickrama produced a high class unbeaten innings of 91 107 balls as Sri Lanka came out of its barren run to defeat a threatening Netherlands by 5 wickets to pocket 2 points on Saturday following three straight defeats at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow. Significantly for Sri Lanka the right-handed Samarawickrama, manning the pivotal No.4 slot rose admirably to Mr. Reliable status in remaining to the end in plugging a debilitating vacuum in the batting as Sri Lanka reached 263 for 5 off 48.2 overs in chasing down Netherland’s 262 off 49.4 overs in a contest though that the Lankans looked well on course to a comfortable win when the Netherlands were reeling on 6 for 91 after 21.2 overs, but forged a seventh wicket partnership of 130 between Sybrand Engelbrecht, who struck 70 off 82 (4×4, 1×6) and Logan van Beck a sedate 59 off 75 (1×4, 1×6) after of telling 4-wicket performances by pacers Dilshan Madushanka and Kasun Rajitha had rocked the Dutch with 4 for 49 and 4 for 50.
Samarawickrama came to the show in measured control of an innings of high quality of tremendous footwork of minute driving and sweeping in overcoming the early hiccup of 52 for 2 after 9.3 overs in blunting a heavy top Dutch spin, and pace attack in running the ones and twos. Just the 7 boundaries did exemplify the marked concentration and will by the 28-year old to seeing his side through by turnaround partnerships of 52 for the third wicket off 40 deliveries between Pathum Nissanka 54 (52b, 9×4) 77 for the fourth wicket off 99 off with Charith Asalanka 44 (66b, 2×4, 1×6) and 76 for the fifth wicket off 79 with Dhananjaya de Silva 30 (37b, 2×6,1×4). The final flurry came with the winning boundary crashed by Dushan Hemantha.
Indeed, Samarawickrama had played the classical anchor role to the end just failing to notch his second ODI ton in his 27th ODI.
Sri Lanka’s early thrust with the ball that had had the Netherlands on the hop was articulated by a brilliant effort by fast man Kasun Rajitha who claimed the first 3 wickets to fall that of Vikramjit Singh leg before wicket for 4, clean bowling Max O’dowd for16 and Colin Ackerman c behind by KusalMendis for 29 – Netherlands 54 for 3 after 16.1 overs. Then Madushanka remove Bas de Leede caught by Kusal Janith Perera for 6 making it 68 for 4 after 16.5 and into the eighteenth over trapped Teja Nidamanuru lbw for 9 and the Dutch skidded to 71 for 5 and when Maheesh Theekshana bowled Scott Edwards for 16 Sri Lanka was right on top with their opponents reeling on 91 for 6 after 21.2 overs. But the Netherlands early decimation was to be foiled by remarkable Dutch courage as in the game that brought down South Africa forged by the 100-plus partnership between Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan van Beck before Madushanka bowled the former yoking Engelbrecht middle stump. By then the Netherlands had reached a healthy 221 for 7 after 45.1 and prospered to 244 when Madushanka claimed his fourth scalp having Roelof van der Merwe caught behind for 7 into the 48th over and Rajitha as well by ending van Beek’s resistance caught by Asalanka with Madushanka figuring in the final dismissal by a fine throw to the wicket-keeper to run out Paul van Meekeren for 4.
Netherlands 262 (49.4 Overs)RR: 5.27
(Sybrand Engelbrecht 70, Logan van Beek 59, Colin Ackerman 29, Max O’Dowd 16, Dilshan Madushanka 4/49, Kasun Rajitha 4/50, Maheesh Theekshana 1/44)
Sri Lanka 263/5 (48.2 Overs) RR: 5.44
(Sadeera Samarawickrama n.o. 91, Pathum Nissanka 54, Charith Asalanka 44, Dhananjaya de Silva 30,
Kusal Mendis 11, Dushan Hemantha n.o. 4, Aryan Dutt 3/44, Paul van Meekeren 1/39, Colin Ackermann 1/39)