Sri Lanka stunned by Namibia in T20 World Cup opener

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Namibia has beaten former champions Sri Lanka in a huge upset on the opening day of the qualifying tournament for the Twenty20 World Cup.

The African nation secured a 55-run win over Sri Lanka after the 2014 champions won the toss and elected to field.

In the second game of the day, the Netherlands topped United Arab Emirates by three wickets.

After Jan Frylinck and J.J. Smit’s seventh-wicket heroics batted them back into the match, Namibia defended its 163-7 with great bowling and fielding to dismiss Sri Lanka for 108 runs from 19 overs.

The win puts Namibia in the box seat to progress through the qualifiers and reach the Super 12 stage of the tournament, while Sri Lanka must now beat UAE and the Netherlands in its group.

Sri Lanka sustained a blow in the morning of the game as promising left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka was ruled out of the competition with a torn quad muscle. He has been replaced by fellow left-arm quick Binura Fernando, who will fly out from Colombo on Sunday night. Victoria state has the largest Sri Lankan popula-tion outside the country and they turned up in num-bers to support the team, bringing along with them a papare band – a three-piece group — to perform native songs.

Sri Lanka now needs to win the remaining two games and hope bad weather doesn’t wash out any of their encounters. Four teams from two qualifying groups this week will qualify for the main tourna-ment.

Despite the defeat, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka remained hopeful.

“If you see in the Asia Cup, we had a similar start. We lost badly to Afghanistan and then we raised our game and hopefully we can get inspiration from that,” Shanaka said.

It was Namibia’s first win against Sri Lanka in any format of the game and captain Gerhard Erasmus attributed the early success to the team’s preparation.—AP

 

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