Sri Lanka secured their first victory in the 2023 World Cup with a comfortable five-wicket win over the Netherlands in Lucknow. Sadeera Samarawickrama played a pivotal role in the measured run-chase, remaining unbeaten at 91* to guide his team to a well-deserved triumph.
At the halfway point of the match, Sri Lanka faced a challenging target as the Netherlands had posted a total of 262 runs. This respectable score was largely thanks to a middle-order rescue act led by Sybrand Engelbrecht (70) and Logan van Beek (59). However, Sri Lanka's response was firmly anchored by the consistent performances of Pathum Nissanka at the top of the order, as he notched his third consecutive World Cup fifty.
Nissanka's 52-run partnership with Samarawickrama provided stability after the early dismissals of Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis, both falling to the spinning deliveries of Aryan Dutt. Once Nissanka was caught behind off Paul van Meekeren's bowling, Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka joined forces, adding 77 crucial runs while navigating through some challenging overs from Dutt, who was exploiting the pitch's spin-friendly conditions.
Samarawickrama, whose 107-ball knock included seven boundaries, displayed patience on a demanding pitch. His partnership of 76 runs for the fifth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva virtually sealed the victory for Sri Lanka.
The Netherlands, after opting to bat first, had a rocky start, finding themselves at 91 for 6. However, the seventh-wicket partnership between Engelbrecht and van Beek, which added 130 runs, proved to be a remarkable turnaround and set a new record for the highest partnership for the seventh wicket or below in World Cups.
Sri Lanka's Kasun Rajitha initiated the early troubles for the Netherlands, picking up wickets with his inswinging deliveries. He was particularly effective in his seven-over opening spell, also accounting for Max O'Dowd and Colin Ackermann. Dilshan Madushanka, returning to the attack after the drinks break, struck in consecutive overs to further dent the Netherlands' progress.
Engelbrecht and van Beek patiently rebuilt the innings, focusing on accumulating singles and twos. There was even a phase where the Netherlands didn't hit a boundary for nearly 21 overs. Engelbrecht eventually broke this drought with a sweep against Dushan Hemantha in the 31st over. Both batsmen went on to score their maiden ODI half-centuries during this partnership, with Engelbrecht being the more aggressive of the two.
Sri Lanka finally made a breakthrough in the 46th over when Engelbrecht was dismissed, attempting a scoop against Madushanka's yorker. Subsequently, the Netherlands went from 221/6 to being bowled out for 262 with just two balls remaining in the innings. Rajitha ended with match figures of 4 for 50, while Madushanka contributed with 4 for 49, including the crucial scalp of van der Merwe.
- Netherlands found themselves in deep trouble at 91/6, but Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan van Beek's 130-run stand resurrected their innings. Engelbrecht scored 70, whereas Van Beek made 59.
- Two Sri Lankan bowlers, Dilshan Madushanka and Kasun Rajitha, claimed four wickets each. Madushanka registered better figures of 9.4-1-49-4.
- Sri Lankan opener Pathum Nissanka scored his third consecutive fifty of the World Cup. He made 54 from 52 deliveries.
- Netherlands were in the game having reduced Sri Lanka to 104/3, but Sadeera Samarawickrama's stand of 77 runs with Charith Asalanka and 76-run stand with Dhananjaya de Silva sealed the deal for the Lankans. Samarawickrama was the top-scorer with an unbeaten 91.
Man of the Match | Netherlands vs Sri Lanka result
Sadeera Samarawickrama was rightly named the Player of the Match for his match-winning knock of 91*.
Sri Lanka were in a tricky situation, but Samarawickrama guided them through, stitching crucial partnerships with Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva. Samarawickrama smashed seven fours during his knock, which was a very measured and composed one.
Netherlands vs Sri Lanka final scorecard
Sri Lanka had established their stronghold quite early in the match having reduced Netherlands to 91/6. But Engelbrecht and Van Beek's fifties propelled them to a competitive total of 262. The Lankans did same some hiccups initially, but Samarawickrama played a very mature knock to lead them to victory with five wickets and 10 deliveries to spare.
Netherlands 262/10 (49.4 Overs)
|Bas de Leede||6||21||0||0||28.57|
|Scott Edwards (c)†||16||16||0||0||100|
|Logan van Beek||59||75||1||1||78.66|
|Roelof van der Merwe||7||7||0||0||100|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||4||0||13||0||3.25||3||0|
Sri Lanka 263/5 (48.2 Overs)
|Kusal Mendis (c)†||11||17||2||0||64.7|
|Dhananjaya de Sil/va||30||37||1||2||81.08|
|Logan van Beek||10||0||57||0||5.7||0||0|
|Paul van Meekeren||8||1||39||1||4.87||2||0|
|Bas de Leede||3||0||29||0||9.66||2||0|
|Roelof van der Merwe||9||0||42||0||4.66||1||0|