With a 16-run victory over the Netherlands, Sri Lanka guaranteed their spot in the Men’s T20 World Cup’s Super 12 round.
As Sri Lanka scored 162-6 while batting first, opener Kusal Mendis hit 79 off 44 balls.
In response, the Netherlands remained competitive throughout their innings with Max O’Dowd’s exciting 71 not out off 53 balls.
But Lahiru Kumara skillfully held on to 23 from the final over to give Sri Lanka the victory.
Following a shocking loss to Namibia in their opening match, Sri Lanka won two straight matches to easily advance out of the group.
Despite winning their first two games in Group A, the Netherlands’ loss puts them in danger due to their subpar net run rate.
Each group’s top two teams advance to the Super 12s, which begin on October 22.
However, the Netherlands must wait for the outcome of the second game of the day, between Namibia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which starts at 9:00 BST. If they want to advance, they will need the winless UAE to pull off an unlikely victory.
In spite of winning the Asia Cup in September, Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign got off to a dismal start as they lost to Namibia.
However, they handled the pressure admirably in a game that they had to win to advance to the next round.
The bowlers from the Netherlands were in command early on, limiting Sri Lanka to just 36 runs during the first six-over powerplay.
That quickly changed to 36-2 as Paul van Meekeren claimed two wickets in two balls, dismissing Dhananjaya de Silva for a golden duck and bowling opener Pathum Nissanka for 14.
“I think we bowled very well in the powerplay. We were a little bit unlucky. There were a lot of balls that didn’t quite get to hand,” said Scott Edwards, the captain of the Netherlands.
Although it was ultimately in our hands, we are just sorry that we weren’t quite there tonight. “Hopefully the UAE can help us get through.”
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