The Netherlands finish 2nd as Sri Lanka clinch qualifiers trophy

Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka and Dutch wicket keeper Scott Edwards in action. Photo: ICC

Sri Lanka 233 (Arachchige 57, Mendis 43, Vikramjit 2-12) beat the Netherlands 105 (O’Dowd 33, Theekshana 4-31, Madushanka 3-18, Hasaranga 2-35) by 128 runs

Sri Lanka cruised to their second World Cup qualifier trophy with an unbeaten streak at the tournament by beating the Netherlands by a whopping 128 runs in the final on Sunday in Harare.

Apart from the size of the opposition and the prospect of winning only the second-ever World Cup Qualifier trophy since 2001 for the Dutch, there was little significance to the game given the World Cup qualification was already secured for both sides by virtue of reaching the final.

The Netherlands’ bowlers were once again up to the task, bowling out Sri Lanka for 233 on a batting-friendly pitch, a remarkable turnaround given that the latter were comfortably placed at 180-3 in the 36th over. A stunning collapse saw the Asian counterparts lose their last seven wickets for 53 runs as Logan van Beek bagged two wickets accompanied by a sharp catch and a run-out to turn the tide.

But the Dutch batters had no response to the left-arm swing of Dilshan Madushanka (3-18) with the new ball before losing six wickets to the spin duo of Maheesh Theekshana (4-31) and leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2-35) to capitulate to 105 all out in the 24th over.

The last time the two sides had met in the first match of the Super Sixes last month, the Netherlands had bowled out Sri Lanka for a paltry 213 before falling short by a mere 21-run margin, failing to negate Theekshana’s spin.

If it was Dhananjaya de Silva’s 93 that had rescued Sri Lanka’s flagging batting performance then, it was Sahan Arachchige’s 57, his maiden half-century in just his second ODI yesterday that set the base for a total in excess of 300 had it not been for a late stutter.

Vikramjit Singh broke through with the ball to pick the first two wickets before Saqib Zulfiqar’s double strike in the middle overs sparked a cataclysmic collapse against the flow of runs. Arachchige reverse swept Zulfiqar to van Beek, who took a sharp catch at point inside the circle, in the 35th over before van Beek ran out Charith Asalanka two balls later.

At 190-7, it took Hasaranga’s 29-run cameo to overhaul Sri Lanka past the 200-run mark before being bowled out with 13 deliveries unused.

The Netherlands were without Bas de Leede, who returned to the UK to resume his county cricket duties with Durham after his match-winning five-wicket haul and a maiden century helped the side gun down 278 in 42.5 overs to beat Scotland and qualify for the World Cup.

23-year-old Noah Croes, a former team-mate of Scott Edwards at Melbourne University Cricket Club and in the side as the reserve wicket-keeper batter, made his International debut in the only change to the side.

But de Leede’s absence was palpable as Madushanka ran through the top order with a probing new ball spell before Hasaranga scalped Teja Nidamanuru LBW off his first delivery to reduce the Dutch to 32-3 and then 49-6.

Max O’Dowd (33) and Logan van Beek’s 36-run partnership managed to briefly arrest the slide but only delayed the inevitable against a Sri Lankan side that had bowled out every opposition leading into the final.

“We were still here to win the game. Credit to our bowlers, I thought we kept them to a score we thought we could chase. We had to play their spinners better but we just didn’t,” Edwards said after the game.

“It was a pretty high intensity tournament. Extremely proud of how the boys have played throughout. The opportunity to play in a 10-team World Cup is massive for us and hopefully we can put in some good performances in India.”

As things stand, the Netherlands have no competitive fixtures scheduled between now and the start of their World Cup campaign on October 6th against Pakistan in Hyderabad.

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