Karthik Meiyappan lit up the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with a hat-trick Tuesday but it was in vain as Sri Lanka dismissed the United Arab Emirates for just 73 to get their campaign back on track.
The Asian champions were stunned by Namibia in the tournament’s opening game on Sunday, a crushing 55-run defeat that left no room for error against the UAE.
They responded with a convincing 79-run victory, but not before some drama.
Sri Lanka were cruising at 117-2 at Geelong when spin bowler Meiyappan derailed their plans in the 15th over, removing Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka and skipper Dasun Shanaka in successive balls.
It was only the fifth hat-trick at a T20 World Cup, and the first-ever for the UAE in any T20 international.
Shanaka’s team recovered to post 152-8 with Pathum Nissanka making a gritty 74 and Meiyappan ending with 3-19.
It leaves Group A finely poised in the race to make the Super 12 stage heading into the third and final matches on Thursday where net run rate could prove decisive.
Sri Lanka, the 2014 champions, face the unbeaten Netherlands next, needing another win, while Namibia take on the winless UAE.
After being put into bat, Sri Lanka made a strong start, reaching 42 before Kusal Mendis was trapped lbw by Aryan Lakra on 18.
Nissanka was joined by Dhananjaya de Silva and with the trumpets blowing from the Sri Lankan fans, they both crunched big sixes.
But their 50-run partnership came to an end with an amateurish runout. Nissanka drove the ball and De Silva set off, but his partner didn’t respond, leaving him stranded.
Nissanka brought up his eighth T20 half-century with a cover shot but then watched as Rajapaksa, Asalanka and Shanaka all fell to Meiyappan.
Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva was then snared by Aayan Afzal Khan four balls later as they lost four wickets for three runs.
Nissanka kept calm at the other end and began swinging his bat, before being dismissed in the final over.
Dushmantha Chameera quickly rattled UAE in their reply, clean bowling Muhammad Waseem and Aryan Lakra in the space of five balls.
The UAE had no answer to the pace attack, slumping to 21-4 in the sixth over and they never recovered as Sri Lanka ran riot. Chameera ended with 3-15 but in worry for Sri Lanka hobbled off late in the game.
Netherlands edge closer to World Cup Super 12
Bas de Leede took two wickets and made an unbeaten 30 as the Netherlands took a giant step towards the Super 12 on Tuesday with a tense five-wicket victory over giant-killing Namibia.
At a sun-soaked but near-empty Kardinia Park in Geelong the African nation was restricted to 121-6 in their 20 overs, with the Dutch using seven different bowlers to put the clamps on.
De Leede was the best of the bunch, taking 2-18, complemented by outstanding fielding.
The Europeans, boosted by former South Africa and India coach Gary Kirsten on their coaching staff, were cruising at 91-1 in the 14th over in reply before Namibia took four late wickets to set up a nervous finale.
The Netherlands needed six runs off the last over, with De Leede the hero, hitting a boundary then two to secure the win with three balls to spare.
It was a huge victory against a team that sent shockwaves around the cricketing world with a stunning 55-run triumph over Asian champions Sri Lanka on Sunday on day one of the World Cup in Australia.
The Netherlands beat the United Arab Emirates on the same day by three wickets and with two wins from two they will progress to the Super 12 if the UAE upset Sri Lanka later Tuesday.
They have made the stage once before, in 2014, when they topped their group then sensationally beat England.
Namibia skipper Gerhard Erasmus won the toss and chose to bat, but it looked a poor decision as they slumped to 32-3 in the sixth over, struggling with their timing.
Stephan Baard and Jan Frylinck steadied the ship with a 31-run partnership before Roelof van der Merwe removed Baard for 19.
Frylinck compiled 43 before De Leede tempted him into a big hit and he was caught in the deep, then he trapped Erasmus in the same over.
Twenty-seven off the last three overs set a decent target but just seven boundaries in total was testament to the Dutch bowling.
In reply, Max O’Dowd and Vikram Singh powered to 44 without loss after five overs.
Singh was in fine touch with two sixes in his 39 before going for another off Bernard Scholtz and Nicol Loftie-Eaton took a catch by the ropes.
Fired up, Namibia snared four more quick wickets, including O’Dowd for 35, to set up a nervy finish.