Rex Clementine in St. Lucia

Batting had let down Sri Lanka during the ICC T-20 World Cup in the Untied States. They had lost back-to-back games to South Africa and Bangladesh and then the game against Nepal was washed out. By the time the former champions arrived in the Caribbean for their last group game, they had been eliminated from the tournament.

In St. Lucia with nothing to lose, they brought up their best batting effort. It has been a good year for Sri Lanka in white ball cricket with series wins over Afghanistan and Bangladesh. But in the World Cup, two batting collapses saw them exiting without reaching the second round.

As for Netherlands, they were still in with a chance to go through. They had given South Africa and Bangladesh scares but were short on points. They had been expecting that Nepal beat Bangladesh and then they themselves overcame Sri Lanka to go through. But both things didn’t happen.

Sri Lanka were clinical on Sunday. After Pathum Nissanka fell for a duck in the first over, Kusal Mendis (46) and Dhananjaya de Silva (34) consolidated before Charith Asalanka (46) did the acceleration.

The stage was set for Angelo Mathews (30) and Wanindu Hasaranga (20) to finish things off and they did that to perfection and a total of 201 was a match winning score.

What was so good to see was Sri Lanka’s running between the wickets. They converted ones into two and twos into threes putting pressure on the fielders.

 Netherlands started off well. Their openers added 45 runs in 27 balls. The required run rate forced them to take chances and several batters were dismissed attempting big shots.

Sri Lanka’s bowling was on the money. Once again they left out the experienced Dushmantha Chameera preferring Nuwan Thusara and Matheesha Pathirana, the two slingy bowlers. They shared five wickets between them and were troubling the Dutch with their pace and square arm bowling.

Captain Wanindu Hasaranga finished with two wickets while Kusal Mendis was brilliant behind the wickets effecting two stumpings and a run out.