Lucknow, The Gulf Observer: Sri Lanka registered its first victory in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in Lucknow on Saturday by beating the Netherlands by 5 wickets.
Chasing the Dutch’s 262, the islanders proceeded cautiously after losing an early wicket. Man of the Match Sadeera Samarawickrama, who remained unbeaten on 91 from 107 deliveries, anchored the run-chase and took his team across the line with 10 balls to spare. For the Netherlands, off-spinner Aryan Dutt delivered a commendable spell — picking up three wickets in his 10 overs. However, Sri Lanka won the match comfortably in the end as no other Dutch bowlers apart from Paul van Meekeren (1/39 in 8 overs) and Colin Ackermann (1/39 in 8.2 overs) could back Dutt by taking wickets.
As a consequence of the game, Sri Lanka jumped one spot up to 9th in the point table — above Afghanistan in Net Run Rate. The Dutch are in the eighth spot. Bangladesh, Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the bottom four teams, have all got two points from four matches.
South African-born Sybrand Engelbrecht (70) and Logan van Beek (59) led a remarkable recovery with maiden half-centuries to help the Netherlands post a fighting 262 after they opted to bat.
In reply, Dutch off-spinner Aryan Dutt (3/44) snared Kusal Perera (5) and skipper Kusal Mendis (8) inside the powerplay, but Sri Lanka never lost sight of the target on a dry and spinning Ekana pitch with Samarawickrama anchoring their chase without taking any risks.
Lending solidity to the middle-order, Samarawickrama, who slammed a maiden ODI hundred against Pakistan earlier, got to a well-deserved half-century — his sixth in ODIs — in 53 balls en route to his unbeaten knock of 91 to seal Sri Lanka’s chase with 10 balls to spare.
This was bottom-placed Sri Lanka’s first win after enduring three losses on the trot in the 10-team showpiece event.
Pathum Nissanka (54; 52b) came up with a third straight half-century to set it up before Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka took the chase away from the Netherlands in a 77-run fourth-wicket stand.
For the Dutch bowlers, the execution was missing unlike their upset win over South Africa at Dharamsala three days back.
They either strayed on the leg, or bowled wide on the off-stump even as the Lankan batters were happy to take singles and twos to keep the required run-rate near the five-run mark.