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Sri Lanka bring Dutch crashing back to reality at World Cup

Dutch had stunned South Africa by 38 runs, but struggled to contain Sri Lanka in heat of Lucknow
Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka plays a shot during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between Netherlands and Sri Lanka at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on October 21, 2023. AFP
Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka plays a shot during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between Netherlands and Sri Lanka at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on October 21, 2023. AFP
Scott Edwards used the sweep shot to put off Sri Lanka’s spinners in the World Cup Qualifier. Photo Espn Cricinfo
Scott Edwards used the sweep shot to put off Sri Lanka’s spinners in the World Cup Qualifier. Photo Espn Cricinfo

Sadeera Samarawickrama hit an undefeated 91 as Sri Lanka brought the Netherlands crashing back down to World Cup reality on Saturday with a five-wicket victory which gave the 1996 champions their first win of the tournament.

The Dutch had stunned South Africa by 38 runs up in the chilly and wet Himalayas on Tuesday, but struggled to contain Sri Lanka in the heat of Lucknow.

Chasing 263 to win, Samarawickrama hit seven boundaries in a patient 107-ball stay at the crease with Pathum Nissanka making 54 as Sri Lanka reached their target with 10 balls to spare.

After defeats to South Africa, Pakistan and Australia, the Sri Lankans have their first points on the board in the 10-nation World Cup.

The Netherlands too have one win and three losses from their four games.

Opener Nissanka’s half-century came from 52 balls with nine fours as the 25-year-old registered his third successive fifty at this World Cup after 51 against Pakistan and 61 in the game with Australia.

The Dutch sensed a chance of another shock when Sri Lanka were 104-3 but Samarawickrama, who made a fine 108 against Pakistan, steadied the ship in a man of the match performance.

The 25-year-old had reached his 50 off 53 balls with four boundaries, putting on 77 in a key fourth wicket stand with Charith Asalanka (44).

Spinner Aryan Dutt was the pick of the Dutch bowlers with 3-44.

Earlier, Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan van Beek hit maiden one-day international fifties as the Netherlands recovered from a poor start to post 262.

The 35-year-old Engelbrecht reached his milestone off 65 balls with three fours and one six.

Van Beek went to his fifty from 68 balls.

South African-born Engelbrecht and New Zealand native Van Beek helped the Dutch recover from 91-6, putting on a seventh-wicket partnership of 130.

It was a World Cup record for the seventh wicket bettering the 126 between Kapil Dev and Syed Kirmani against Zimbabwe in 1983.

The partnership ended when left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka clean-bowled Englebrecht for 70 with the score on 221.

Van Beek was eventually dismissed for 59 when he became recalled fast bowler Kasun Rajitha’s fourth victim.

Madushanka finished with figures of 4-49 while Rajitha had 4-50.

Worryingly for the Sri Lankans, they coughed up 33 extras, 26 of which were wides.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Netherlands saw Rajitha send back Vikramjit Singh (four), Max O’Dowd (16) and Colin Ackermann (29) as they slipped to 54-3.

Madushanka picked up Bas de Leede (six) and Teja Nidamanuru (nine), before spinner Maheesh Theekshana grabbed the key wicket of skipper Colin Edwards (16).

The Dutch went 20 overs without hitting a boundary before Engelbrecht and Van Beek launched their rescue act.

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