|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong|
|Sri Lanka (162-6) beat Netherlands (146-9) by 16 runs|
|United Arab Emirates (148-3) beat Namibia (141-8) by seven runs|
|Sri Lanka v Netherlands scorecard; Namibia v UAE scorecard; Table|
Sri Lanka and the Netherlands both progressed to the Super 12s stage of the Men’s T20 World Cup following a thrilling conclusion to Group A.
They finished first and second in the group respectively to qualify for the next stage of games, starting on 22 October.
Having lost to Sri Lanka earlier in the day, the Netherlands qualified after a shock seven-run win for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over Namibia.
It was the UAE’s first ever win in the T20 World Cup, in only their second tournament.
Some inconsistent bowling from Namibia allowed UAE to score a competitive 148-3, with opener Muhammad Waseem top-scoring with 50 from 41 balls.
The Netherlands players who stayed in the ground watched in anticipation as Namibia then slipped to 69-7, before David Wiese’s heroic 55 from 36 balls dragged them back.
But needing 14 from the final over, Wiese holed out to long-on to hand UAE an unexpected win – and the Netherlands an unexpected qualification.
In the earlier game, Kusal Mendis’ 79 from 44 balls propelled Sri Lanka to 162-6 – the right-hander smashing five sixes in his match-winning innings.
Max O’Dowd’s entertaining 71 not out from 53 balls kept Netherlands in the game throughout their innings but they fell 16 runs short and were left nervously waiting for the second game to be completed.
Sri Lanka qualify in first position meaning they join England, Afghanistan, Australia and New Zealand in Super 12s Group A, while Netherlands will face India, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh in Super 12s Group B.
Both groups will see one more team join them, on completion of the first-round’s Group B, with Scotland and Ireland both hoping to qualify in Friday’s final matches.
Sri Lanka return to winning ways
Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup in September but their World Cup campaign started disastrously with a shock defeat to Namibia.
But in a must-win game to secure their place in the next stage, they responded to the pressure impressively.
The Netherlands’ bowlers dominated initially, restricting Sri Lanka to just 36 runs from the opening six-over powerplay.
That soon became 36-2 as Paul van Meekeren took two wickets in two balls, bowling opener Pathum Nissanka for 14 before trapping Dhananjaya de Silva lbw for a golden duck.
But Kusal Mendis stood in their way. A partnership of 60 for the third wicket with Charith Asalanka rebuilt the innings to allow him to accelerate – Sri Lanka adding 102 from the final 10 overs.
His innings of 79 came to an end in the final over and set up an imposing total for the Netherlands to chase.
Max O’Dowd, however, had other ideas.
The opener batted through the innings, watching wickets tumble around him until a disastrous 19th over from Maheesh Theekshana conceded 16 runs to leave Netherlands needing 23 from the final six balls with one wicket remaining.
At the other end, Roelof van der Merwe was hampered by a back injury, barely able to run or swing the bat.
But Kumara held his nerve, conceding seven runs from the over and leaving a deflated O’Dowd unbeaten on 71, a remarkable innings without which the Netherlands would have subsided.