Sri Lanka were truly tested for the first time in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifier, but strong performances from Dhananjaya de Silva and Maheesh Theekshana got them out of trouble against the Netherlands.
Dhananjaya made 93, his best ODI score, to help Sri Lanka recover from 96 for six to make 213.
And Theekshana then took three wickets in the space of two overs to derail the Dutch chase in a 21-run victory.
In the other game of the day in Harare, Ireland cruised to victory in the seventh-place play-off semi-final, beating the USA by six wickets.
Sri Lanka pushed to the limit by the Netherlands
The Netherlands signaled their intention from the first ball of their clash against Sri Lanka, with Pathum Nissanka sent off for a Logan van Beek duck.
That was part of a dream start for the Dutch, who quickly held the Sri Lankans 34 for four as Van Beek (3/26) showed off his ball skills four days after his batting heroics against the West Indies.
It took a sensational strike from Dhananjaya de Silva to bring Sri Lanka to 213, and even that didn’t look close enough.
However, just as the Netherlands appeared to be on their way to respond, Maheesh Theekshana (3/31) turned the momentum around with three quick wickets as the Netherlands ultimately fell short by 21 runs.
They had started so well. Nissanka departed after just one ball, before Ryan Klein had Kusal Mendis (10) pinned up front in the fourth over.
Van Beek added Sadeera Samarawickrama (1) and Charith Asalanka (2), bringing Dhananjaya to the crease.
He started to rebuild with Dimuth Karunaratne who then went down for 33, with skipper Dasun Shanaka then starting for five, Saqib Zulfiqar (2/48) representing both men.
Wanindu Hasaranga provided some useful runs, scoring 20 in a 35-run position with Dhananjaya. And after he fell LBW to Bas de Leede (3/42), Theekshana joined Dhananjaya.
The duo added 77 runs, taking Sri Lanka past 200 before both went out in the space of three deliveries.
A target of 214 was certainly within reach for the Dutch, albeit on tricky ground for batsmen.
Their cause was not helped by the fact that both openers fell for the ducks, Lahiru Kumara taking out Vikramjit Singh and Dilshan Madushanka taking out Max O’Dowd.
However, a 77-run partnership between Wesley Barresi (52) and De Leede (41) got the chase back on track. Shanaka finished with some great work down the field, with Barresi close to his field as he tried to steal a single.
Teja Nidamanuru then became the third Dutch batsman to go for a duck, bowled by Hasaranga. Scott Edwards came on and the skipper quickly settled alongside De Leede, the pair added 36 in six overs.
Sri Lanka desperately needed a breakthrough and it came from Theekshana who slipped one through De Leede’s defences.
He added two more in his next over, including Van Beek’s vital wicket, before Shariz Ahmed went out for two, leaving the Netherlands at 151 for eight.
Edwards and Ryan Klein added 25, inching closer to the required rate not being an issue, but a perfect error by Hasaranga was too good for Klein (5).
That left the final pair on 38 to go into 17 overs and an in-form Edwards helped bring them closer, but the captain was stranded unbeaten on 67 when Aryan Dutt was bowled cleanly by Shanaka.
Ireland does it two in a row
Ireland backed up their win over the United Arab Emirates in their final Pool B match by beating the USA by six wickets in Harare in the seventh-place play-off semi-final.
Craig Young was the All-Ireland bowlers choice as they bowled out their opponents for just 196 having chosen to play Takashinga Cricket Club first.
Steven Taylor (23) and Sushant Modani had put on 33 for the first wicket when Young struck twice in as many balls, Taylor catching Gareth Delany before skipper Monank Patel was handed the first ball.
That brought Saiteja Mukkamalla to the crease, with him and Modani adding 88 runs for the third wicket before Mukkamalla ran out for 55.
Andy McBrine then took out Gajan and Singh caught and bowled for ten, with Abhishek Paradkar caught behind Barry McCarthy for a duck.
Lorcan Tucker added another dismissal right after as the US began to stumble, snaring Modani for 55 off McBrine’s bowling.
Young (3/35) came back to take Nisarg Patel and the US was suddenly up 155 for seven and fighting.
Usman Rafiq provided a late boost, going on an unbeaten 28, but the wickets kept falling around him, Ali Khan being the last to go as the US were eliminated in the 43rd.
Needing 197 to win, Ireland got off to a good start, Paul Stirling hitting a 45-ball 58 to lay the foundation. He was pinned up front by Nosthush Kenjige (2/41), with fellow flyer McBrine (35) the next to go.
Captain Andy Balbirnie (45 not out) made sure there were no nerves, however, adding 38 with Harry Tector (25) and 29 with Tucker (25) to push Ireland to the limit before Curtis Campher joined him. to take the team home with 15.4 overs. ample
Windies look for a miracle against Scotland
Successive defeats to Zimbabwe and the Netherlands have left the West Indies with a mountain to climb to finish in the top two of the Super Six, and their challenge begins against Scotland.
Shai Hope’s side are already in must-win territory, but they can keep up the pressure with a win, against a Scotland side who already have two points to their credit.
Richie Berrington and his team won their first three games before falling apart against Sri Lanka, but they could boost their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup with a win in Harare.
scores in brief
Netherlands v Sri Lanka at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo by ten wickets
Sri Lanka 213 total in 47.4 overs (Dhananjaya de Silva 93, Dimuth Karunaratne 33; Logan van Beek 3/26, Bas de Leede 3/42)
Netherlands 192 in 40 overs (Scott Edwards 67 not out, Wesley Barresi 52; Maheesh Theekshana 3/31, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/53)
Ireland beat USA at Takashinga Cricket Club, Harare by six wickets
USA 196 total in 42.4 overs (Sushant Modani 55, Saiteja Mukkamalla 55; Craig Young 3/35, Andy McBrine 2/19)
Ireland 197/4 in 34.2 overs (Paul Stirling 58, Andy Balbirnie 45*; Nosthush Kenjige 2/41, Nisarg Patel 1/20)
Saturday July 1 – Calendar
Scotland v West Indies at Harare Sports Club, Harare
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