Sri Lanka's Unblemished Record in ODI WC Qualifier

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In a match that held little significance, Sri Lanka showcased their determination and talent. Despite already securing their qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup, they displayed their relentless pursuit of excellence by delivering a crushing 128-run defeat to the Netherlands in the qualifier final.

Although Sri Lanka experienced a late batting collapse, losing seven wickets for just 53 runs, their
bowlers had already asserted their dominance, dismantling the Netherlands’ batting lineup before the chase even began.

Dilshan Madushanka played a pivotal role, claiming three wickets within the first nine overs, while
Wanindu Hasaranga contributed with two wickets by the 12th over. Maheesh Theekshana then took charge, capturing four wickets to dismiss the Netherlands for a mere 105 runs. This remarkable victory meant that Sri Lanka remained undefeated throughout the qualifying event. It is worth noting that both finalists had already secured their spots in the upcoming ODI World Cup, scheduled to take place in India later this year.

Following their exhilarating chase against Scotland, Netherlands chose to field first once more. Vikramjit Singh made an impact early on, dismissing both openers during the initial powerplay after a slow start from Sri Lanka. However, Kusal Mendis and Sahan Arachchige steadied the innings over the next 13 overs, gradually increasing the scoring rate and asserting Sri Lanka’s dominance. The pitch offered little assistance to the bowlers, prompting the batsmen to employ the sweep shot against the spinners, particularly leggie Saqib Zulfiqar. Nevertheless, Netherlands found a breakthrough when Mendis was dismissed by a straight delivery.

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Arachchige reached a well-deserved half-century, while Charith Asalanka’s run-a-ball 36 set the stage for Sri Lanka to finish strongly. However, an unexpected collapse allowed Netherlands to stage a comeback.

A brilliant catch by Logan van Beek at point brought an end to Arachchige’s innings, followed by Asalanka being run out just two deliveries later. Netherlands then dismissed Dasun Shanaka and Dhananjaya de Silva to penetrate Sri Lanka’s lower order. Only a cameo from Hasaranga provided some impetus as Sri Lanka crossed the 200-run mark. However, a flurry of quick wickets towards the end of the innings halted their progress, leaving Sri Lanka with a total of 234 runs for Netherlands to chase.

Netherlands started their chase on a promising note, accumulating 25 runs in the first 4.3 overs.
However, their fortunes quickly changed when Vikramjit miscued a shot straight to cover-point,
triggering a collapse. Madushanka dismissed Wesley Barresi, while Hasaranga trapped Teja Nidamanuru in front, leaving Netherlands reeling at 49 for 6.

Captain Scott Edwards fell victim to a careless run-out, further shaking Netherlands’ confidence. Max O’Dowd fought valiantly to push the total towards the three-figure mark, but Sri Lanka had already gained a firm grip on the game. Theekshana returned to dismiss O’Dowd, shattering his off stump after a resilient 36-run partnership with van Beek. In a remarkable display of bowling, Theekshana claimed the final four wickets, trapping each batsman in front of the stumps. As a result, the Netherlands, who are set to compete in the upcoming World Cup, folded for a mere 105 runs.

These two teams will face each other again in a more crucial contest in India, where Captain Edwards will be hoping for a stronger performance from his side.

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