Wanindu Hasaranga of Sri Lanka celebrates the wicket of Teja Nidamanuru of Netherlands during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier
Cricket World Cup

Clutch kings Netherlands out to stun Sri Lanka in CWC23 Qualifier final

CWC23 Qualifier

By Martin Pegan

Hit For Six!

Sri Lanka can count on some of the leading batters and bowlers at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, while Netherlands will turn to their proven match-winners when the India-bound teams meet in the tournament final.

The undefeated Sri Lanka have surged into the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India with a barnstorming run through the Qualifier tournament as their spin twins and opening pair drive their domination.

Video CWC23 Qualifier 09 Jul 23
Trophy for the taking as dominant Sri Lanka and dogged Netherlands clash in CWC23 Qualifier final - Match Preview
Match preview as Sri Lanka and Netherlands will both be out to end the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 as 'winners' when they meet in the tournament final in Zimbabwe

The 1996 World Cup champions have been able to turn to spin wizards Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana to tear through their opponents as the top two wicket-takers at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

Hasaranga has the most scalps at the tournament with 20 before the CWC23 Qualifier final against Netherlands, after starting with three consecutive five-wicket hauls to match the ODI record held by Pakistan speedster Waqar Younis.

Despite sitting out Sri Lanka’s last Super Six clash against West Indies, the leg-spinner is on track to lead all wicket-takers at the tournament just as he did at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup events in both 2021 and 2022.

Theekshana impressed in Hasaranga’s absence with 4/34 against West Indies, but has also worked well in tandem with his fellow tweaker while claiming 16 wickets at an average of just 10 across Sri Lanka’s past five ODIs.

With Hasaranga and Theekshana leading the attack, Sri Lanka have limited all but West Indies to totals under 200 in their seven matches so far at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

Video CWC23 Qualifier 09 Jul 23
'Dominant' Sri Lanka's road to CWC23 Qualifier final a step in grander plan
Sri Lanka will take a seven-match winning streak through the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 into the final against Netherlands

Openers Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne have wielded similar damage with the willow and are behind only Sean Williams for the most runs at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier after the Zimbabwe veteran went on one of the all-time great ODI scoring streaks.

Nissanka has just notched back-to-back centuries after a couple of earlier fifties to reach 394 runs at the tournament, while Karunaratne has one ton and three half-centuries in his total of 369.

Video CWC23 Qualifier 07 Jul 23
Pathum Nissanka makes it back-to-back hundreds for Sri Lanka | CWC23 Qualifier
Sri Lanka opener Pathum Nissanka continued his hot-streak with a century against West Indies at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023

Their opening stands at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier against all but their fellow finalists have set the platform for much of Sri Lanka's success with an average 114 runs, including an unbroken 100 in a 10-wicket triumph over Oman.

The duo's only opening partnership that failed to make an impact was curiously against Netherlands when Logan van Beek dismissed Nissanka with the first ball of the match.

With formidable combinations leading the way, Sri Lanka’s victories at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier have come by 10 (Oman), nine (Zimbabwe) and eight wickets (West Indies), while their margins in terms of runs have included 175 (UAE), 133 (Ireland) and 82 (Scotland).

The closest the tournament pacesetters have been pushed was when Netherlands were 127/4 while chasing a modest target of 214, but then lost 6/65 to fall 21 runs short.

Video CWC23 Qualifier 30 Jun 23
Sri Lanka survive Netherlands scare to top Super Six standings | CWC23 Qualifier
Match highlights as the in-form Scott Edwards led the fightback but Sri Lanka held off the Netherlands to register their first Super Six victory at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023.

While Sri Lanka boast several of the standout batters and bowlers at the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, Netherlands have had a more even spread of contributors that will be hoping for a first-ever ODI victory over their final opponents.

Scott Edwards, Vikramjit Singh, Max O’Dowd, Wesley Barresi and Teja Nidamanuru each have multiple scores beyond 50 at the tournament, but it is the Netherlands’ X-factor performers that have stood taller whenever the stakes rise.

Bas de Leede became just the fifth player to take five wickets and score a century in an ODI when ensuring Netherlands snatched a Cricket World Cup spot from Scotland, and the side's leading wicket-taker at the tournament has also impressed when bowling at the death.

Video CWC23 Qualifier 09 Jul 23
'We're going to India! Unbelievable' - Netherlands road to CWC23 Qualifier final and beyond
Netherlands players and commentators on their rousing journey through the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 in Zimbabwe on their way to the showpiece event in India

Netherlands can also call on van Beek when the game is on the line, especially after the all-rounder set a new benchmark with 30 runs in a Super Over to secure what ultimately proved to be crucial Super Six points from West Indies.

With Sri Lanka and Netherlands already sure of their spots at the Cricket World Cup, the CWC23 Qualifier final looms as a test of the steady against the sensational as both teams start to cast an eye toward the showpiece event in India later this year.

Video CWC23 Qualifier 27 Jun 23
Final-over thriller: Spectacular Super Over completes Netherlands fightback | CWC23 Qualifier
Netherlands matched the West Indies huge total then dominated the Super Over to seal an incredible victory at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023


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