Sri Lanka will look to solve top-order issues in their final First Round game against Netherlands, while the Dutch aim to send their most decorated cricketer, Ryan ten Doeschate, out on a high.
Netherlands face Sri Lanka on Friday in its evening fixture at the Sharjah Cricket Ground to cap off what has largely been a closely contested group stage, with only one unconfirmed spot in the Super 12 phase left. The team that fills that spot, however, will be known before Netherlands and Sri Lanka do battle in the last match of the stage.
With comfortably the group's best net run-rate and a two-point lead over any other side, Sri Lanka are primed to top their group barring anything drastic.
The Lankan lions have lived up to their billing of being the strongest side in the group stages but have had their troubles, having to fight back against Ireland in their previous game.
With just eight runs on the board and three batters back in the shed, Sri Lanka were in dire straits, when all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga walked in. Promoted to No.5, he counter-attacked in the Powerplay to dig his side out of the hole. He was duly supported by opener Pathum Nissanka in a match-defining partnership that saw them add 123 runs in just 82 balls.
The fourth-wicket stand put Sri Lanka in a position of strength that saw them finish with a more than competitive score of 171 in their 20 overs. The bowlers continued the momentum and never let Ireland come back into the game, eventually winning the match by 70 runs.
The Netherlands, similarly to Ireland, got through the first three wickets of Namibia quickly but were then met with the force and quality of David Wiese, who notched an imposing 66* that paved the way for the Dutch's second straight loss in the tournament.
Reflecting on the two defeats, Netherlands senior batter, Stephan Myburgh, conceded the Dutch weren’t quite their best in this competition.
“Unfortunately, we haven't played very good cricket at this World Cup. I think we were below par in both games. Today maybe in our bowling, in the previous game in our batting, so we couldn't put it together, and it just cost us,” he said after the six-wicket loss to Namibia that confirmed their exit from the tournament.
They will want to showcase what they are capable of and why their squad is considered the best the country has gathered in their final game in Men’s T20 World Cup.
An extra motivation to perform well in the match will be to give Netherlands' greatest cricketer, Ryan Ten Doeschate, a win in his farewell game. One of the icons of the Associate game, ten Doeschate will hope to leave his mark in his final match the same way as he did with his two centuries at the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Sri Lanka meanwhile will be hoping their top order fires after poor starts in their two games so far.
- Match: Netherlands v Sri Lanka
- Time: 18:00 local time on Friday 22 October
- Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Netherlands may want to experiment and give players from the bench a chance to feature in the XI and gain T20 World Cup experience.
Possible Netherlands XI: Max O'Dowd, Stephan Myburgh, Roelof van der Merwe, Colin Ackerman, Ryan ten Doeschate, Scott Edwards (wk), Bas de Leede, Pieter Seelar, Logan van Beek, Fred Klaassen/ Paul van Meekeren, Timm van der Gugten/Brandon Glover
Ahead of their game against Ireland, Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur had conceded the No. 3 spot has been an “Achilles heel” since the loss of Danushka, Kusal Mendis, and Niroshan Dickwella.
“If we can just get that No. 3 position shelved down, we'll be good. Dinesh Chandimal has it at the moment. Hopefully, he gives us a performance at some stage. We've got young Charith Asalanka, who I think is another young player that's going to play a lot for Sri Lanka, just waiting in the wings. I'm just waiting for someone to grab that position and make it their own,” the coach had said.
Following a second failure for Chandimal against Ireland and with Sri Lanka having little to lose against Netherlands, Arthur may see this as an ideal opportunity to give Asalanka a chance in the XI. One of the fast bowlers might also be rested. Dushmantha Chameera is a likely candidate as Binura Fernando could potentially be given a go.
Possible Sri Lanka XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara
Max O’Dowd: With two fifties in as many games, O’Dowd has been in great form and would like to leave a lasting impression in the game against Sri Lanka. Fearless in his approach, O’Dowd is likely to once again set the tone for Netherlands. The in-form and highly charged Lankan attack will be a serious test for the 27-year-old.
Kusal Perera: The swashbuckling left-hander would be keen to get some runs under his belt going into the main draw. With his opening partner Nissanka finding form, he could have the opportunity to take a couple of sighters before teeing off, building the confidence going into the Super 12. If he hits his straps, Sri Lanka will look a very dangerous team.
Expert Dream11 Fantasy tips
Captaincy Pick - Wanindu Hasaranga
The second-ranked T20I bowler in the world is a default choice for captaincy as he continues to come up with match-winning performances with ball and bat on a regular basis. His 71 against Ireland helped Sri Lanka book their place in the Super 12s. His consistency and all-around play are key to his country’s fortunes and he looks ready to shoulder those expectations.
Must-have - Maheesh Theekshana
Theekshana is a must-have in today’s match and his name is going to be heard a lot more during the course of the T20 World Cup. The mystery spinner has come up with back to back three-wicket hauls in the tournament so far, and is now becoming a player to always look out for, especially in the T20 format.
The Ladder Situation
Sri Lanka win
A Sri Lanka win will guarantee they finish on top of the group. Even with a loss they are likely to top the group.
A Netherlands win won't be enough to take them to the next round but it may be enough to lift them off the bottom of the ladder.
Use the FTX Bracket Challenge to see what each result means to a team's tournament hopes