The Group Stages of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 finally came to an end. On the final day Namibia, Sri Lanka grasped the final two spots in Super 12. Bangladesh and Scotland had already qualified from Group B. They will join the remaining 8 teams in the Super 12. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be placed in Group 1, while Namibia and Scotland will be placed in Group 2. Namibia reached the Promised Land as they sealed a spot in the Super 12 of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with a win over Ireland in a virtual knockout. And Sri Lanka, who had already qualified, showed their class with an extremely comfortable win over the Netherlands.
Namibia’s approach to the chase raised a few eyebrows initially. They went against the norm of batting at Sharjah, choosing to preserve their wickets instead of going for it in the Powerplay. The wicket of well-set Zane Green would have sent a few jitters in the Namibia camp. However, David Wiese ensured that the pressure was back on the Ireland team. Having been at the crease for just three balls, Wiese smashed Craig Young for two sixes off consecutive balls. He brought down the asking rate down from over 8 to 6.5. Erasmus finished it off for Namibia with a half-century but it was Wiese’s unbeaten 14-ball 28 that breathed life into a stuttering chase.
Paul Stirling’s effort went in vain :
Paul Stirling was the only player on both sides who looked at ease during the opening overs in difficult conditions. After a sedate first over, Stirling smacked a four and a six off the next two. The introduction of spin didn’t hinder his approach; in fact, he relished the opportunity as he took the attack to Bernard Scholtz, hitting him for three fours in the fourth over.
Namibia, Sri Lanka grasped the final two spots in Super 12 after wins in their final encounter :
Given how the middle and lower order crumbled, Ireland had Stirling to thank for the precious runs up top that helped them post a total that at least gave them a chance. In hindsight, a lot happened in the 7th over that perhaps changed the dynamic of the match in favor of Namibia. Mark Adair returned to the attack after the Powerplay and off the third ball trapped skipper Gerhard Erasmus, only to see the appeal turned down. Ireland decided against reviewing the decision and, as the replays showed later, there was no bat involved and the tracker showed three reds.
Erasmus eventually went on to score an unbeaten half-century that guided Namibia to a win. The very next ball, Mark Adair had to pull out from his delivery stride after suffering a side strain that cut his involvement in the match down to just 10 balls. Though Kevin O’Brien bowled rather economically, Ireland certainly missed a wicket-taking option in the middle overs and the death.
Sri Lanka might be the dark-horse :
The bowling attack at Sri Lanka’s disposal means they will be a real threat to all of their Super 12 opponents. Hasaranga and Theekshana’s brilliance is not in doubt, but the presence of searing speed from Kumara and Chameera means that Sri Lanka can blow teams away with extreme high pace from one end while the spinners weave their magic at the other. It’s the classic make-up of a T20 bowling attack, and Dasun Shanaka has it at his disposal. England, West Indies, Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh await in the next phase of the tournament, and all will be wary of the Sri Lankan threat with the ball.
Netherlands ended their campaign with a below par performance as Namibia Sri Lanka grasped the final two spots in Super 12 :
The brilliance of Max O’Dowd at the top of the order had held the Netherlands together with the bat in their opening two games. His half-century against Ireland wasn’t enough to take the side to a win. However, did at least prevent the Irish from skittling them out, with five ducks elsewhere on the scorecard. And he was at it once more against Namibia, with an unbeaten 70 that should have been enough to steer his side to a win.
But it was too much of an ask to expect O’Dowd to step up once again. And when he was run out early in the piece his teammates were unable to step up. Only Colin Ackermann reached the double figures. It was always going to be a challenge to make it to the Super 12 for the Netherlands, but it was never going to happen with such limited assistance for O’Dowd.
Sri Lanka already knew they had qualified for the Super 12 stage as group winners. So could have been forgiven for going into this match at half-pace. But it was also an opportunity for Shanaka’s side to get to grips with the conditions in Sharjah. They approached that task with impressive aggression. Sri Lanka are the only team set to play three Super 12 matches at Sharjah. Fixtures against England, Bangladesh and South Africa scheduled to be held at the ground. The conditions seem to lend themselves very well to Sri Lanka’s bowling attack. They will be encouraged by the nature of their destruction of the Dutch batting order.