Sri Lanka escaped with a narrow 21-run win over Netherlands in their first Super Six round match of the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2023 on Friday, June 30. The former World Cup winners kept their unbeaten run in qualifiers alive to remain at the top of the Super Six table and now need only one win to confirm their place in the ICC ODI World Cup in India.
However, the Dasun Shanaka-led side had to sweat it out to get two points against the Dutch side. While batting first, Sri Lanka lost young opener Pathum Nissanka on the innings’ first delivery with Logan van Beek taking his first wicket of the day. Sri Lanka’s top-order struggled to form any meaningful partnerships as they lost the first four wickets in just seven overs.
In-form Dimuth Karunaratne scored crucial 33 runs and stabilized Sri Lanka’s collapse but lost his wicket in the 18th over and his team was down at 5/67. But spin all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silvabatting at no.6, played his career-best ODI innings to drag Sri Lanka to a challenging total.
Dhananjaya top-scored with 93 off 111 with the help of eight fours and two sixes before getting out on Aryan Dutt’s delivery in the 47th over. Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana also played crucial small knocks as Sri Lanka scored 213 runs in 47.4 overs. Logan van Beek and Bad de Leede picked three wickets each while Saqib Zulfiqar took two for Netherlands.
While chasing an easy target, Netherlands’ lost both their openers Vikramjit Singh and Max O’Dowd on ducks. But veteran batter Wesley Barresi and all-rounder Bas de Leede kept Netherlands alive in the chase by adding 77 runs for the third wicket. Both batters seemed comfortable playing against Hasaranga and Theekshana with Barresi adding his first fifty in the qualifiers.
Shanaka dismissed Barresi on a quick throw in the 15th over and that proved a crucial moment in the game for Sri Lanka’s return. Hasaranga bowled out Teja Nidamanuru in the next over and Theekshana dismissed de Leede to put Sri Lanka in the driving seat for the first time in the game.
Zimbabwe made a comeback through wicketkeeper batter Scott Edwards who almost pulled off a memorable win for the Dutch side. He smashed a remarkable fifty and remained unbeaten at 67 off 68 to drag the game to the wire. But Shanaka ended Netherlands’ resistance in the 40th over as he dismissed out Dutt to bowl out opponents on 192 runs.