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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Lahiru Kumara and spinners combine as ruthless Sri Lanka thump clueless Netherlands

Wanindu Hasaranga had the Netherlands batters tied up in knots ICC via Getty

This was the first dead rubber of the World Cup, and aptly enough, Sri Lanka were ruthless with their execution. Seven years after they had skittled Netherlands out for 39, the lowest T20 World Cup total, Sri Lanka condemned the same opposition to the second-lowest total too, running through them for 44 in ten overs.

The chase was more batting practice than anything else, and the top order, which had misfired until now in the tournament, for the first time faced no pressure whatsoever. Even so, Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka fell cheaply, as Sri Lanka still finished the game off in just over seven overs, giving their own confidence a nice fillip ahead of the Super 12s round, they could barely have wished for a smoother evening's work.

Netherlands collapse
There was little of substance to play for as far as Netherlands were concerned, and the moment Dasun Shanaka put them in to bat, Sri Lanka looked like they meant business. Off the fourth ball, when Max O'Dowd set off for a risky single, the captain effected a direct hit at the non-striker's end to send the top-scoring Netherlands batter at the competition back cheaply. From thereon, it was a procession led by carrom-bowling revelation Maheesh Theekshana and legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga.

Theekshana sent Ben Cooper and Stephan Myburgh back to the pavilion after rattling their middle stumps with carrom balls neither could read, while Hasaranga honed in on the pads with wrong'uns that appeared impossible for the opposition to pick. Colin Ackermann, Bas de Leede and Pieter Seelaar all failed to get their pads out of the way of the googly, and by the time a remarkable powerplay concluded, Netherlands were reduced to 37 for 6.

As if that wasn't destructive enough, Sri Lanka brought back Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara for the lower order to face deliveries regularly north of 145kph. One struck Scott Edwards on the head that brought the physio out for a concussion test, before Kumara put him out of his misery by pitching one up into his pads. It began an over that saw him remove the final three Netherlands batters inside six balls to put paid to the innings inside ten overs, and set his batters up with a canter of a chase.

Sri Lanka stroll
Ideally, Sri Lanka would have wished to see the top order run this down without the loss of a wicket to assuage concerns about an underperforming top order. However, Nissanka holed out at mid-off for a duck, while Asalanka couldn't take advantage of his opportunity at No. 3. But Sri Lanka were in little hurry to force the issue, running the target down at a canter.

Kusal Perera had time enough for a cameo that should help his confidence deeper into the tournament, an unbeaten 33 off 24 balls offering a glimpse of his belligerence in the top order. Avishka Fernando knocked off the winning runs, but for Sri Lanka today, it was all about the bowling.

Sri Lanka 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st7MDKJ PereraP Nissanka
2nd24MDKJ PereraKIC Asalanka
3rd14MDKJ PereraWIA Fernando

ICC Men's T20 World Cup

First Round Group A
TeamMWLPTNRR
SL33063.754
NAM3214-0.523
IRE3122-0.853
NED3030-2.46
First Round Group B
TeamMWLPTNRR
SCOT33060.775
BAN32141.733
OMA3122-0.025
PNG3030-2.655
Group 1
TeamMWLPTNRR
ENG54182.464
AUS54181.216
SA54180.739
SL5234-0.269
WI5142-1.641
BAN5050-2.383
Group 2
TeamMWLPTNRR
PAK550101.583
NZ54181.162
INDIA53261.747
AFG52341.053
NAM5142-1.89
SCOT5050-3.543