Sri Lanka register first win but it certainly wasn’t pretty. – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE (Elanka Sports Editor) 

Sri Lanka register first win but it certainly wasn’t pretty. – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE (Elanka Sports Editor) 

Trevine Rodrigo | elankaSri Lanka wobbled their way to their first World Cup win over the giant killing Netherlands but they made it after after some uncomfortable moments. 

Unbeaten so far by the world’s new upstarts in their previous five encounters, Sri Lanka scrambled to a five wicket victory with ten balls to spare and kept that record intact.

Netherlands skipper Scott Edwards may have rued his decision to bat first after winning the toss on a grassy Lucknow wicket. Sri Lanka’s seamers Dilshan Madushanka and Kasun Rajitha exploited early movement off the wicket to skittle Netherlands top order and at 91 for 6 it looked like a the game was heading for a lopsided end.

Not so,  as Netherlands tail dug in and fought back defiantly, and Sri Lanka’s bowlers lost their grip and let them get away to a nearly winnable target of 262. 

Looking in dire straits with more than half the batters in the pavilion, Sybrand Englebreckt 70 off 82 ball and Logan Van Beek 59 off 75 balls engaged in a wonderful rearguard action to defy Sri Lanka’s aspirations adding a valuable 230 for the seventh wicket and nearly a winning total from a hopeless position. 

Madushanka 4 for 49 and Kasun Rajitha 4 for 50 bowled their hearts out towards Sri Lanka’s cause.

It was a game of fluctuating fortunes that turned Sri Lanka’s way for a change,  while it made it clear that this World Cup has no one with a clear underdog status as I predicted before the tournament began.

In form Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrema then paired up to avoid another Sri Lanka debacle as they lost two quick wickets including skipper Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera as Netherlands got their tails up in anticipation of another top scalp.

After some keen exchanges between bat and ball particularly Aryan Dutt Netherlands off spinner who had Sri Lanka’s batters guessing for most of his spell, Samarawickrema and Dhananjaya De Silva scrambled home to give Sri Lanka an unconvincing win but raising hopes of better fortunes in the games ahead. 

Aryan Dutt bowled brilliantly grabbing three well deserved wickets for just 44 in a extremely rewarding day on the field. 

Samarawickrema scored a patient 91 off 107 balls,  unfortunate to miss out on a well deserved century,  Nissanka 54 off 57 balls and Dhananjaya De Silva 30 off 37 to see Sri Lanka home.

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