T20 World Cup: Namibia shock Sri Lanka in opening match

Namibia’s JJ Smith smashed an unbeaten 31 off 16 balls as he helped his team accelerate at the back of the innings.
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong
Namibia 163-7 (20 overs): Frylinck 44 (28), Smit 31* (16); Madusha 2-37
Sri Lanka 108 (19 overs): Shanaka 29 (23); Scholtz 2-18, Shikongo 2-22, Frylinck 2-26
Namibia won by 55 runs
Scorecard; Table

World number 14 Namibia stunned Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka by 55 runs in an impressive start to the Men’s T20 World Cup.

Losing the toss, Namibia slumped to 35-3 and 93-6 before Jan Frylinck (44 off 28 balls) and JJ Smit (31 not out off 16 balls) hit 70 off the last 37 balls to take them to 163-plus. -7.

In reply, Sri Lanka, ranked eighth in the world, were bowled out for 108.

Namibia’s only other win over a Test nation was against Ireland in 2021.

The Netherlands play the United Arab Emirates In group A, from 09:00.

Scotland and Ireland’s campaigns begin on Sunday as they face the West Indies and Zimbabwe respectively in Group B.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the Super 12, which starts on October 22. The winner of group A and the runner-up of group B will face England.

Sri Lanka flattered to deceive but Namibia surprised

Sri Lanka, led by former England coach Chris Silverwood, came into the tournament in Australia with some people betting on the title after their impressive Asia Cup victory just five weeks ago.

However, the conditions are very different to those living in the United Arab Emirates, and after the ball got off to a good start, the cracks started to appear.

Their fielding was tidy enough, but the bowling, both line and length, fell apart as the Namibian innings progressed and pressure was put on them by Frylinck and Smit, both of whom understood the need to hit straighter much better than their teammates.

They hit six fours and two sixes between them, but before that it was a lukewarm batting display from Namibia, with little power or guile to find the boundary.

The united nation were excellent with the ball from the start, and their catching and grounding was faultless.

Nicol Loftie-Eaton took a brilliant catch at deep mid off to dismiss Wanindu Hasaranga, Michael van Lingen was quick to run out Pramod Madushan.

Left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz claimed 2-18, bowler Ben Shikongo – who had an lbw review dismissed for a hatter – took 2-22 and Frylinck 2-26.

The result means Sri Lanka will realistically need to win their remaining two matches – potentially by a wide margin, given the effect this result will have on their net run rate – to have any chance of qualifying for the Super 12s.

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFoot - Blue