Jan Frylinck smashed 44 runs and took two wickets as Namibia hammered Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka by 55 runs to cause a major upset in the opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday.
The left-handed Frylinck and JJ Smit, who made an unbeaten 31, lifted Namibia to 163-7 with their 69-run seventh-wicket stand after being invited to bat first in Geelong.
Sri Lanka were then bowled out for 108 in 19 overs with David Wiese, Frylinck, Bernard Scholtz and Ben Shikongo taking two wickets each in the team’s first of three opening-round matches.
The African side are on course for a second straight Super 12 place after achieving the feat on their T20 World Cup debut last year in the United Arab Emirates.
“Incredible journey, last year was a special experience for us. We’ve started a great win, but a lot of work to do throughout this tournament still,” skipper Gerhard Erasmus said after the stunning win.
“It’s been a historic day for us. The opening day has been quite special but we want to kick on from here and qualify for the Super 12 stage. We understand the bigger picture as well.”
Namibia lost their openers inside three overs with returning fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera getting a wicket third ball when Michael van Lingen was caught at deep third-man.
Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton fell to a brilliant diving catch by wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis after a 12-ball 20.
Stephan Baard and skipper Erasmus attempted to rebuild with a stand of 41 but Sri Lanka’s bowlers kept chipping away with wickets.
Namibia slipped to 93-6 when spinner Maheesh Theekshana got big-hitter Wiese caught behind for nought but Frylinck, who hit four fours in his 28-ball innings, and Smit had other ideas.
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The pair took the attack to the opposition with five fours and two sixes in the final five overs.
Sri Lanka, who won the Asia Cup last month, lost Mendis for six when his top-edge off Wiese ballooned up to land in the gloves of Zane Green.
Shikongo stunned the fancied Asians when he sent back Pathum Nissanka for nine and Danushka Gunathilaka for nought from consecutive balls.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa played out the hat-trick ball, surviving a big lbw shout.
“Once we lose three wickets in the powerplay, we are usually out of the game,” said skipper Dasun Shanaka.
“The plans should be simple, we need not do anything special. We’ve got a good team, it’s about the process.”
Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya backed the team to bounce back and make the Super 12 stage.
“Disappointing result. However, this team has come back from defeat before. Let’s regroup and win from here first target is to qualify. Come on boys let’s do this!” Jayasuriya wrote on Twitter.
Frylinck, a left-arm seamer who was named man of the match, removed Dhananjaya de Silva as Sri Lanka slipped to 40-4.
The left-handed Rajapaksa and Shanaka, who made 29, attempted to put the chase back on track with a partnership of 34 but Scholtz broke the stand with his left-arm spin.
Scholtz got Rajapaksa out for 20 when he skied a shot and also sent back Wanindu Hasaranga.
Frylinck ended captain Shanka’s resistance and the lower order soon followed to spark joyous celebrations when Wiese claimed the final wicket.
Netherlands edge UAE in low-scoring T20 World Cup thriller
Bowlers led by Bas de Leede helped the Netherlands edge out the United Arab Emirates by three wickets in a tense low-scoring match of the World Cup.
Skipper Scott Edwards stood unbeaten on 16 as the Netherlands chased down their target of 112 with one ball to spare in the second match of the day in Geelong.
UAE pace spearhead Junaid Siddique returned figures of 3-24 and put the opposition in trouble with two wickets in the 14th over but Edwards held his nerve to get his team off to a win in round one.
De Leede, an all-rounder who is a pace bowler, led the charge with his three wickets to keep down the UAE to 111-8.
Electing to bat, the UAE batters survived the disciplined Dutch attack albeit scoring slowly as they reached 85-2 in 15 overs with Muhammad Waseem making 41 before falling to pace spearhead Fred Klaassen.
The wicket triggered a collapse as de Leede struck three times in the 19th over as the UAE slipped from 91-2 and managed just 26 runs in the final five overs.
In reply, Vikramjit Singh got out for 10 but Max O’Dowd hit 23 off 18 balls to get the team off to a quick start.
Junaid bowled O’Dowd in the sixth over and the Netherlands suddenly lost wickets in a heap to lose control of their modest chase.
Junaid struck twice in the space of three balls including Tom Cooper (8) and Roelof van der Merwe (0) and nearly had a third when skipper Chundangapoyil Rizwan dropped a catch at cover.
The spill proved costly as Edwards and Tim Pringle put on 27 runs and sneaked home in the final over.