Sharjah, Oct 22: Sri Lanka registered a thumping eight-wicket win over the Netherlands in their final T20 World Cup 2021 first-round match with the spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana bamboozling the opposition batters here on Friday (October 22).
The inconsequential match ended inside two hours, as Sri Lanka first bundled out the opposition for a paltry 44, the sixth-lowest total in T20 history, and then cantered to the target in just 7.1 overs.
The chase was a walk in the park for Sri Lankans as the opener, Kusal Perera, blazed his way to an unbeaten 33 off 24 balls and tore apart the Netherlands attack. It was Sri Lanka's third win in as many matches and they topped Group A with six points.
They now take on Bangladesh at the same venue on Sunday in their first Super 12 match. The day belonged to the young Sri Lankan spinners, Hasaranga (3/9) and Theekshana (2/3), who spun their web around the Netherlands to bowl them out in 10 overs.
The 44-run total by the Netherlands was the second-lowest in T20 World Cup history. The lowest T20 World Cup total is also in their name and that also against Friday's same opponents -- 39 in the 2014 edition in Chattogram.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka credited the win to his bowlers. "A real good performance from all of us. I didn't bowl in the qualifier at all, and Charith Asalanka can also bowl. We read the conditions really well, so we know the advantages and disadvantages going forward (in the Super 12s)," Shanaka said after the match. Put in to bat, Netherlands lost in-form opener Max O'Dowd (2) cheaply, as he was run-out in the first over, courtesy a direct hit by rival skipper Dasun Shanaka.
It soon became 19/2 as young off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana used the carrom ball to perfection, as he cleaned up Ben Cooper (9). Theekshana was on a roll, as he picked up his second wicket in the same over, again using the carrom ball to castle Stephan Myburgh (5).
The Netherlands were teetering at 20/3 at that stage. Sri Lanka were surging as Hasaranga (3/9) scalped two wickets in the fifth over. First, he trapped Colin Ackermann (11) in the front, as the Dutch were in all sorts of trouble at 31/4.
Hasaranga, in a similar fashion, removed Bas De Leede (0) as the Netherlands lost half their side for 32. It was a procession for Netherlands batters as Roelof van der Merve (0) and skipper Pieter Seelaar (2) also went cheaply.
The rival skipper was again trapped in the front by Hasaranga, who produced a stellar show on a track that aided the spinners. Right-arm pacer Lahiru Kumara (3/7) then sent the lower order packing, claiming three wickets in the 10th over, as misery continued for the Netherlands, who were bowled out in just 60 balls.
While chasing, Sri Lanka lost opener Pathum Nissanka (0) in the second over, but Perera saw the team home without much fuss, as he took the Netherlands attack to cleaners, hammering six fours in the process.
Charith Asalanka, who replaced Dinesh Chandimal, could not make most of the opportunity, as he departed for six. But eventually, left-handed Perera took the team home in the company of Avishka Fernando (2 not out). Netherlands skipper Pieter Seelar was candid in admitting that Sri Lanka just outplayed his side.
"Fair credit to them, they were two steps ahead. The pacers came out with a bit of good heat, good aggression. Leading run-scorer run out in the first over doesn't help, pretty much set the tone for the innings.
"We've got a South Africa series in November and Afghanistan in January (for ODIs). We've to go back to the drawing board a bit."
(With PTI inputs)