Namibia will look to extend their meteoric rise in the world of cricket when they come across Sri Lanka, who will be brimming with confidence after their Asia Cup victory last month. Round one will begin with a bang as the first of 45 games will pit Group A favourites, Sri Lanka, against Namibia, a team with solid ambitions of making it to the Super 12 stage. The two teams are set to compete on Sunday against one another at a significant competition for second time.
In the previous T20 World Cup, Namibia and Sri Lanka were drawn into the same group and faced off in their first game. Gerhard Erasmus and his team won’t be remembering this match with fondness because Sri Lanka comprehensively overpowered them; Namibia was bowled out for 96, and the Lankans finished off the chase with seven wickets and more than six overs to spare.
Namibia, however, put on a courageous performance in their remaining games, defeating Ireland and the Netherlands to get to the Super 12, where they also defeated Scotland. Since then, the team has gained confidence and experience, which was evident when they put on a polished performance to defeat Ireland in the mega-event warm-up game earlier this week. Namibia will be hoping for an even stronger performance this time, and they’d like to beat the Lankans to kick off their trip.
On the other side, Sri Lanka, who just emerged as the Champions of Asia by defeating teams like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh on their road to the Asia Cup title, has a strong reputation to uphold going into this competition.
That victory, which included five straight triumphs, put an end to a concerning run of performance since the last T20 World Cup campaign. Before winning the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka had dropped nine of their first 10 Twenty20 international matches this year.
The Lankans have also brought their excellent form to Australia, as evidenced by their outstanding performance against Zimbabwe in the exhibition game. With the help of batsmen like Kusal Mendis and Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka’s team won the game by 33 runs. When they play Namibia, they will now try to continue this momentum.
Namibia squad: Gerhard Erasmus (c), JJ Smit, Divan la Cock, Stephen Baard, Nicol Loftie Eaton, Jan Frylinck, David Wiese, Ruben Trumpelmann, Zane Green, Bernard Scholtz, Tangeni Lungameni, Michael van Lingen, Ben Shikongo, Karl Birkenstock, Lohan Louwrens, Helao Ya France.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera (subject to fitness), Lahiru Kumara (subject to fitness), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan.
Standby Players: Ashen Bandara, Praveen Jayawickrema, Dinesh Chandimal, Binura Fernando, Nuwanidu Fernando.
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