Pumped up Sri Lanka burst Dutch bubble. Shanaka’s men annihilate Netherlands in emphatic fashion in qualifying final. – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

Pumped up Sri Lanka burst Dutch bubble. Shanaka’s men annihilate Netherlands in emphatic fashion in qualifying final. – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

Trevine Rodrigo | elankaDasun Shanaka and Sri Lanka basked in the glory of a complete whitewash of the qualifiers with a comprehensive thrashing of the Netherlands in the final at Harare. 

The Sri Lankans showed remarkable fight when their backs were against the wall as the went on to remain unbeaten and throwing out a warning that they are up for the fight against the best. 

 Maheesh Theeksheena and Dilshan Madushanka ensured that Sri Lanka’s modest total of 233 all out in 47.5 overs was defendable, when they routed the Dutch for 105 in only 23.3 overs making the decider a cakewalk. 

Theeksheena followed his four wicket haul against Zimbabwe with another similar effort and Madushanka grabbed another three and with Wanindu Hasarsnga De Silva two more to his remarkable tally, to give the Lankans a vision for the future about their depth with front liners Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara sidelined through injury. 

Hasarsnga and Theeksheena ended a successful tournament one and two among the bowlers in the competition proving their world class talent. 

The final offered only bragging rights to the winner after both teams had already qualified for the World Cup proper. 

But the Sri Lankans had a point to prove after being pushed by the Dutch in their last encounter before falling over the line for an unconvincing win. They were on a mission to set the record straight and they achieved that in convincing fashion. 

What was pleasing throughout the qualifiers was Sri Lanka’s batting which found better consistency than the T20 side that depended on a few. 

The inclusion of some experience in the form of Dimuth Karunaratne definitely made a difference to a team looking for a level headed approach and it paid off as they consolidated what appeared threatening situations into a winning position.

Pathum Nissanka,  Dimuth Karunaratne,  Kusal Mendis,  Dhananjaya De Silva,  Charith Asalanka and new man Sahan Arachchige have proved to be second to none with Skipper Shanaka having an ordinary run with the bat in this tournament.  There is no question about his leadership though. Time will make this team an outfit to contend with. 

Shanaka needs to shake off the burden of captaincy and refocus on his explosive batting talent which has come to the fore on many occasions when Sri Lanka were under the pump. There’s plenty of wise heads around him to share the load.

Chopping and changing at this stage would be disastrous as they work through a new found chemistry. The missing pieces at World Cup level can be thought through after the performances in the Asia Cup. 

Coach Chris Silverwood would also have welcomed the extra think tank in Mahela Jayawardena whose proven strategy in the IPL would have helped them form a winning game plan.

Sri Lanka now head off to the Asia Cup to prove that their new found confidence can have creditability against the best in Asia who have already qualified for the World Cup. 

span style=”font-size: 16px; color: #000000;”>They get to ply their wares against India,  Pakistan,  Afghanistan and Bangladesh obviously hell bent on knocking over at least two of them to make their inclusion justifiable.

Dasun Shanaka post tournament confessed that despite the joy of winning the qualifiers there was a need to focus on batting consistency.  He is not far off with that.

A couple of changes in terms of experience, could well sort the issue out.

Comments are closed.