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Sri Lanka vs Namibia – ICC World Cup LIVE Cricket Score 18 Oct 2021

Sri Lanka vs Namibia – ICC World Cup LIVE Cricket Score 18 Oct 2021

Sri Lanka vs Namibia, 4th Match, Group A

Series: ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2021

Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Date & Time: Oct 18, 06:00 PM LOCAL

In a dramatic nadir for the former champions, Sri Lanka owe their place in the preliminary round to the fact that they were ranked outside the top 8 sides at the rankings cut-off on December 31 2018. While they, unlike their three opponents in Group A, were spared the indignity of having to go to the Global Qualifier itself, the format of the ‘First Round’ that they find themselves in means they have little room if they are to make the Super 12s.

With just three games to play and only two berths on offer, a single loss might be enough to end their tournament hopes. Though they remain favourites against all three individually, any of Ireland, Namibia or the Netherlands are capable of upsetting the Sri Lankans even at the best of times, and these are not the best of times for Dashun Shanaka’s team.

Though a cut-off set almost three years ago may seem a shade unjust, Sri Lanka’s ranking has not improved since. Having won just three of their 20 official T20Is over the past year, they enter the tournament low on form and confidence, with a side unsettled by the suspensions of Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella following their best-forgotten tour of England.

Unusually for a Full Member side, this Sri Lanka squad had less cumulative international experience than their three group opponents. Nonetheless, they remain favourites albeit to progress from the group, two warm-up wins over Oman and another in their first official lead-in match against Bangladesh would have lent them a degree of confidence. Worries remain at the top of the order, however.

Oman’s seamers reduced Sri Lanka to 21 for 3 by the 5th over before a middle-order recovery in their first unofficial prep game, and another collapse followed against Bangladesh, where they stumbled to 79 for 6 before Avishka Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne performed an impressive rescue job. Fernando’s form and Karunaratne’s increasingly impressive showing with the bat in the lower order adds a degree of “bouncebackability” to offset an unreliable top four, but given the unforgiving nature of the group format, Sri Lanka will hope not to be relying on them unduly.

Namibia are set to make their debut at the T20 World Cup, and their first appearance at any top-tier ICC event in almost two decades, fielding what is unarguably the strongest side they have ever put out. A batting line-up that boasts more out-and-out hitters than any of their rivals, as well as eventual player of the tournament Gerhard Erasmus, saw them bounce back from a shaky start in the Qualifier to claim their berth two years ago, and since then they have looked in exceptional form.

The difficulties posed by the global pandemic did not prevent Namibia from arranging a busy home season, claiming series wins against South African and Zimbabwean development teams as well as a strong Titans side in the lead-up to the tournament. While the low and slow conditions expected at Sharjah and Abu Dhabi will not ideally suit Namibia, those familiar with the history of Namibian grounds will know that the Eagles are eminently adaptable and hardly unfamiliar with sticky conditions.

Squads:

Sri Lanka Squad: Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera(w), Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka(c), Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Maheesh Theekshana, Pathum Nissanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa

Namibia Squad: Stephan Baard, Zane Green(w), Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus(c), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Ruben Trumpelmann, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Ben Shikongo, Michau du Preez, Bernard Scholtz, Michael van Lingen, Karl Birkenstock

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