T20 World Cup 2022: Sri Lanka need to seal 2 points against the Netherlands to progress to the Super 12 stage of the tournament. Dasun Shanaka’s men will be hoping for an improved show in Geelong on Thursday.
T20 World Cup: Asian champions Sri Lanka face Netherlands in must-win match (AP Photo)
By India Today Web Desk: Sri Lanka had headed into the T20 World Cup as one of the dark horses after having stunned India and Pakistan to win the Asia Cup title in September. However, Dasun Shanaka’s men are a loss away from making a shock exit in the Round 1 stage of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Sri Lanka take on high-flying Netherlands in their final Group A match in Round 1 in Geelong on Thursday and the Asian champions may not be able to progress to the Super 12 without a victory. Sri Lanka are at the 3rd spot in Group A with a win from 2 matches while the Netherlands are at the top of the table with 2 wins in as many matches. Namibia, who stunned Sri Lanka in the opener, are in the 2nd spot with a better Net Run Rate than the islanders.
In fact, it might turn out to be a winner-takes-all contest on Thursday as the Netherlands can be eliminated if they lose and Namibia win as the Dutch have a poorer Net Run Rate than both Sri Lanka and Namibia. Namibia take on UAE, who are winless, in the final Group A match in Round 1 in the afternoon match in Geelong after Sri Lanka’s morning game.
Sri Lanka came up with a horror batting show against Namibia, getting bowled out for 108 but Pathum Nissanka save the day against UAE, hitting a 60-ball 74 before their star bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga picked 3 wickets each to decimate the UAE batting unit.
Sri Lanka captain Shanaka conceded that it’s time for him and explosive Bhanuka Rajapaksa to come to the party sooner than later in the T20 World Cup after twin failures for them.
“I think we need to have myself and Bhanu needs to kick on in this tournament, as well,” Shanaka said.
Sri Lanka have also been dealt with a huge blow as they have lost pacer Dushmantha Chameera due to a calf injury. Shanaka was unsure of Chameera’s participation in the clash against the Netherlands but the star pacer has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament along with batter Dhanushka Gunathilalka.
Sri Lanka will be focused on getting the job done and not think about the pressure of expectations in their must-win match against Netherlands, Shanaka said.
“I think Asia Cup champions is history, so it’s just a title for us. There is no pressure at all. We just need to concentrate on our own performances and what we need to do to make sure that we get into that second round after the next game,” he added.
On the other hand, the Netherlands will be keen on making the most of a fine start. The likes of Bas de Leede along with the top-order have chipped in in their close wins but the Dutch need to be more comprehensive if they are to test Sri Lanka.
SRI LANKA VS NETHERLANDS, PREDICTED XIs
Netherlands: Vikramjit Singh, Max ODowd, Bas de Leede, Colin Ackermann, Tom Cooper, Scott Edwards (c &wk), Roelof van der Merwe, Tim Pringle, Timm van der Gugten, Fred Klassen, Paul van Meekeren
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (wk), Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Kumara, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana