Sri Lanka’s fate hangs in balance at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 after a shock defeat to Namibia in the opening match of the tournament.
The Lankans came into the tournament with their confidence sky high after lifting the Asia Cup.
Moreover, they had also beaten Namibia convincingly in the same stage of the previous T20 World Cup a year ago.
Naturally, they had every reason to be bullish about their prospects.
However, Namibia pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in their cricketing history.
Namibia bat first
Batting first, Namibia were tottering at 93 for 6 with just 34 balls remaining in the innings.
They seemed headed for a total of 130-140, given that their most reputed batters were already out.
The Lankans relaxed and the moment proved to be fatal.
Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit came together to build a spectacular seventh-wicket stand worth 70 priceless runs.
Frylinck blasted 44 off 28 balls and Smit smashed 2 fours and 2 sixes to score 31 not out off just 16 balls.
As a result, Namibia reached 163 for 7, a score that was at least competitive.
The Lankan pacers, Madushan, Chameera and Karunaratne, couldn’t get their yorkers right and conceded more than 9 runs an over each.
Sri Lanka totter
In reply, Sri Lanka were never in control after losing three wickets inside the powerplay.
Pathum Nissanka (9), Kusal Mendis (6) and Danushka Gunathilaka (0) were back in the pavilion in just 3.3 overs. Bhanuka Rajapaksa (20) and skipper Dasun Shanaka (27) were the only two batters who showed some fight.
Namibia bowlers kept chipping away with the wickets as Sri Lanka crumbled within 108 runs in 19 overs.
Ben Shikongo (2/22), Bernard Scholtz (2/18), David Wiese (2/16) were the star bowlers for Namibia.
JJ Smit (1/16), and Jan Frylinck (2/26) also gave them good support.
Jan Frylinck was man-of-the-match for his exploits with bat and ball.
“I think our seam bowlers tried too much” – Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said about his team’s performance.
“We didn’t execute our plans well.”
“I think we went for the yorkers and we didn’t execute with low full tosses and half volleys. I think that’s where it went wrong.”
“I think if they had stuck to that hard length, wicket-to-wicket, like the Namibian bowlers did really, really well, it should have been different.”
Namibia 163 for 7 (Frylinck 44, Smit 33*, Madushan 2-37) beat Sri Lanka 108 (Shanaka 29, Wiese 2-16, Scholtz 2-18, Shikongo 2-22, Frylinck 2-26) by 55 runs