Brief scores: Sri Lanka 213 (Dhananjaya 93, van Beek 3-26, de Leede 3-42) beat Netherlands 192 (Edwards 67, Barresi 52, Theekshana 3-31) by 21 runs
Netherlands fell agonisingly short of Sri Lanka’s under-par 213 to lose their first Super Sixes match by 21 runs in Bulawayo.
Following an impressive bowling display led by Logan van Beek (3-26) and Bas de Leede (3-42) on a flat pitch, the Dutch batters were spun out for 192 despite half-centuries from Scott Edwards (67*) and Wesley Barresi (52).
Sri Lanka survived a major scare and continued their unbeaten run in the tournament on the back of Dhananjaya de Silva’s counter-attacking career-best knock of 93 and five wickets shared by the mystery spin duo of Maheesh Theekshana (3-31) and Wanindu Hasaranga (2-53).
The Dutch must now beat Oman and Scotland to have any chance of qualifying as one of the top two teams, but also need either Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe to lose both their remaining games.
Van Beek strikes
With Sri Lanka choosing to bat, Logan van Beek continued from where he had left off against the West Indies by snaring a wicket off the first ball of the game as Pathum Nissanka chipped a tame catch to cover.
By the end of the seventh over, Sri Lanka found themselves in choppy waters as they were reduced to 34-4, with van Beek sending back Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka in successive overs, both off poor shots.
Saqib Zulfiqur, the leg-spinning all-rounder, prolonged the misery drawing the edge of the set opener Dimuth Karunaratne (33) and pinning captain Dasun Shanaka in front but a 75-run stand between de Silva and Theekshana (28) revived the innings from 133 for 7.
De Silva, who struck eight fours and two sixes in his 111-ball stay, not only looked the most composed of all Sri Lankan batters but also batted well with the tailenders to wrestle back some control. De Leede’s two wickets at the death restricted the Sri Lankans to a chaseable 213 on a pitch starting to show signs of spin and variable bounce.
In a rare failure for the Dutch openers, Max O’Dowd and Vikramjit Singh faced a total of three balls between them as they were dismissed for a duck each.
But Wesley Barresi, who hit his first International half-century since coming out of retirement, combined with de Leede for a 77-run partnership for the third wicket and batted positively against the spinners to absorb the pressure.
Barresi’s run-out in the 15th over, which could have been prevented with a dive, ultimately proved to be the match’s turning point as the Dutch lost five wickets for 45 runs in the next 58 deliveries, handing three to Theekshana.
Edwards resisted with his fourth consecutive half-century, keeping the spinners at bay with his trademark sweeps, but ran out of partners as Shanaka closed out a nerve-jangling contest castling Aryan Dutt’s off stump in the 40th over.
Teja Nidamanuru, one of four Dutch batsmen who failed to score, pointed to the lack of partnerships through the middle overs.
“I think the big difference was that Sri Lanka had a big partnership that got them through to 213 whereas if you look at our innings, we were lacking one through the middle to be able to get through,” he said.
“It’s never nice to lose that way, but one more partnership could have got us over the line.”
The Netherlands’ next match is against Oman on Monday, July 3.
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