Sri Lanka’s fast men greet Namibia with relentless barrage on return from World Cup
NICK FRIEND: Sri Lanka may be in the midst of horrific form – it was only their fourth win in 21 matches – but they are armed with a fabulous record in this competition and, more relevant to the composition of the Namibia hitters, rhythm
Namibia are back on the world stage, 18 years after their only World Cup appearance. Sri Lanka were new opponents, and just the second full member – after Ireland – to face Gerhard Erasmus in the shorter format.
The journey back to this point has not been without challenges, but its end point – a date at the top table – is special and meaningful. “This kind of thing unites us as a country, ”said Rudie van Vuuren, chairman of the national governing body. The cricketer after their qualification two winters ago. “It gives the players a lot of hope. Second, our pipeline now has aspirations because our team is going to the World Cup. If you have a good tournament, it creates opportunities and it creates hope.
It’s a tough school, however; Sri Lanka may be in the middle of awful form – it was only their fourth win in 21 games – but they have a fabulous record in this competition and, more relevant for the team. Namibia hitters, rhythm. Not the rhythm of Lasith Malinga, now retired, but of Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera. Even Chamika Karunaratne, slower on the speed gun but carrying a lively frenzy through the crease at the end of a long run, hits the batter sooner than they expected.
Zane Green was the main victim of their barrage: Chameera punched him twice on the helmet, which he stared straight into the middle of his grille. The ball ricocheted offside for a single that was caught late once Green moved his benchmarks. The same pitcher hit him again – this time at 91.3 mph. The next bullet was recorded even faster, at 92 mph. A baptism of fire, literally.
Paul van Meekeren spoke to The cricketer ahead of this tournament, stating: “I think we definitely have the strongest pace attack in associate cricket.” The fact that van Meekeren was not even part of the Dutch squad for his implosion against Ireland on Monday morning was decent evidence to back this claim.
But the point is, that kind of pace isn’t the norm on associate rankings: this year Namibia played T20Is against Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Scotland and Papua New Guinea. .
Zane Green has his helmet checked by referees after being punched by Dushmantha Chameera
And although much of the Sri Lankan camp’s talk before this competition was about their spinners – Wanindu Hasaranga is the second pitcher in the world, according to the ICC T20I rankings, and Maheesh Theekshana has been touted as the latest must-have product. from the country. – these are their crimps whose aggressiveness set the tone for the favorites of Mickey Arthur’s group, rarely going wrong and leaving their targets on the front foot unless they nail their yorkers.
Ruben Trumpelmann, with his serious pace, came in at No.9 and faced three balls, including two from Chameera, who greeted him with a pair of bouncers. JJ Smit, an all-rounder with abundant ability, landed his third throw on a short, thin leg. It was a relentless approach, sealed by a 90mph Yorkie from Kumara who made a career in the strains of Helao Ya France, No. 10 from Namibia.
With Mahela Jayawardene on the sidelines – a series winner both as a player and now as a highly regarded coach on the franchise circuit – they deserve a lot of credit for how they dismantled a Namibian side with a lot of talent, even if it was summarily suppressed on this occasion.
No team has a higher winning percentage in the T20 World Cups than Sri Lanka, which reached three finals and won the tournament in 2014. According to CricViz, they had thrown more balls above the bar. 140 km / h at the end of the seventh as the combined efforts of all other teams so far.
Namibia fought admirably, dropping the ball for quick singles whenever possible – not the worst strategy against a short bowling attack to be at the non-attacking end. They were forced to work for their 96 points, reaching just three fours and two sixes in 19.3 overs. The addition of David Wiese, the former all-rounder from South Africa, could not soften this struggle; he was pinned to the crease by a handsome piece of Karunaratne’s bowling alley in the midst of a collapse that saw eight wickets crumble in 7.1 overs.
Theekshana was a fascinating watch: the 21-year-old is in the teenage phase of his international career, the same time that Ajantha Mendis was so particularly fascinating. There are some obvious similarities between the pair – most notably their impulses and lack of orthodoxy in hitting the ball out of the front of the hand. Craig Williams, facing him with a cap, swept a six but was tortured by his slippery precision.
The chase was a foregone conclusion, although Namibia tried to recapture any momentum they might have lost ahead of the tournament in a disheartening first half by taking three early wickets in response. They are far from in contention for qualification and they are much better than what they showed on this big day when the fast bowlers from Sri Lanka came to the party.
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