Sri Lanka finishes World Cup on a high, overpowering the Netherlands in St Lucia

Sports Monday 17/June/2024 08:23 AM
Sri Lanka finishes World Cup on a high, overpowering the Netherlands in St Lucia

The Netherlands’ hopes of sneaking into the Super Eights are over, beaten convincingly by a focused Sri Lankan side keen to finish their tournament campaign on a high.

The Dutch started the day still firmly in the hunt to progress, but that all changed as Bangladesh - simultaneously - took out the other Group D match being played, sealing progression for the Tigers.

The Netherlands won the toss and sent in the Lions. And despite not knowing exactly how Bangladesh’s match with Nepal was starting to pan out, the European outfit looked focused on the job at hand.

Sri Lanka made steady progress as the Powerplay unfolded, though, climbing towards 40 in the first five overs, before Paul van Meekeren took a key scalp in the sixth over, ending Kamindu Mendis’ innings (17 off 20). The Lions were 45/2 at the six over mark.

Runs were proving tricky to come by with more fielders scattered, until two fours in three balls to end the ninth over gave Sri Lanka momentum. Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva built pressure, pushing them to 74/2 at the midpoint of the innings and laying a strong platform.

Mendis finally went for 46 off 29, ending a 45-run partnership, but the stroke-making continued for Sri Lanka, as three de Silva boundaries brought up three figures for the Lions in the 13th over. Charith Asalanka joined the party at the change of ends, hitting a four and a six to keep things moving swiftly.

Tim Pringle picked up the crucial wicket of de Silva in the 15th over to keep the Netherlands in it. But Asalanka and Angelo Matthews made sure the foot stayed on the accelerator, adding six boundaries in three overs before Asalanka finally mistimed one – out for 46 off 21 in the 18th over.

Skipper Winindu Hasaranga picked up where Asalanka left off, joining Matthews to add more pain to the Netherlands’ innings in the field. The pair added 35 unbeaten runs to push the Lions above 200, registering the equal-top total of the tournament, finishing 201/6. Matthews made 30* off 15 balls.

The Dutch made an inspired start in reply, as openers Michael Levitt and Max O’Dowd squeezed as much out of the Powerplay as possible. O’Dowd (11 off 8) was removed in the fifth over, before Levitt (31 off 23) was stumped on the second-last ball of the sixth. 47/2 was a good return from the Powerplay, though, giving the Netherlands more than a chance.

Control started shifting in the seventh over when Vikramjit Singh (7 off 10) was removed. Next over, it was Sybrand Engelbrecht on his way and Hasaranga collected two wickets on the stroke of the innings’ midpoint to have the Dutch caught well behind parity.

The captain struck again in the 12th over, stumping Pringle, capping off a five-over period that brought five wickets. That had the Netherlands 83/7 with eight overs left.

Captain Scott Edwards did his best to keep the Dutch in the hunt, top scoring with 31 runs off 24 balls. So his dismissal in the 17th over effectively ended any faint chance the Europeans still had.

Sri Lanka wrapped it up, claiming the final scalp two balls later – the Netherlands were all out for 118.

By that stage, it was only pride left to play for anyway. Bangladesh joins South Africa out of Group D into the World Cup’s second round.

This was Sri Lanka’s only World Cup win, something to hang their hats on.