T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka walk past Namibia
Sri Lanka thrashed Namibia by seven wickets with 39 deliveries left. And there's little doubt that Sri Lanka will qualify and Namibia will be out of this in no time. But that's really isn't why this is important for Namibia
It's a pity that the Sri Lankan team has to play in the qualifying rounds. But the way they've performed in the last couple of years, it's not a surprise that they're made to play these. But it's not a pity nor it is a surprise to see Namibia get their rightful due to compete in this world cup.
The exposure they get out of playing the bigger teams is just unmeasurable. The more they play, the better they get. The ICC needs to make it a compulsion for the big nations to play at least one series against the associates. But with the ICC formulated the way it is now, we surely know it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. And we'll not see Namibia playing against quality opposition until the next world cup.
Winning the toss, Sri Lankan skipper Shanaka opted to bowl, thinking to chase whatever Namibia can get very quickly, keeping the NRR in mind. And all his bowlers were right on target with their respective spells. Mahinda Teekshana, the mystery spinner, was the pick of the bowlers as he rattled the inexperienced and if we can say, batters that are less equipped to play top class spin bowling.
Apart from a very good partnership for the third wicket between the captain Erasmus and the impressive Craig Williams of 39, there wasn't much to cheer for the Namibians with the bat. Their biggest hope, David Weise, who's playing for Namibia in this world cup, after having represented South Africa previously, didn't make much of an impact and got out for just 6.
Once he was removed, the team total couldn't even get past the hundred run mark, with the pace trio of Lahiru Kumara, Chameera and Karunaratne, putting out quite a display of death bowling.
Chasing less than 5 runs per over, Sri Lanka would've hoped to chase this with no loss. But there was another story waiting to unfold. The Namibian bowlers put out a spirited performance in the power play and gave the signs of a big upset. The Lankans were in a spot of bother after being reduced to 26 for 3 inside 6.
But Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa made sure their team reached the target with no more worries. Rajapaksa in particular was the most aggressive of the two, where he smacked 42 from 27 with four fours and two maximums. The Lankans chased down the target in 13.3 overs and made they're well placed in terms of the NRR, if it ever comes into play.
For Namibia though, it was a great learning for their players to play against some quality opponents and it can only get better for them.