Big-hitting fireworks from Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit helped Namibia post a competitive 163/7 in 20 overs of their opening ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match against 2014 champions Sri Lanka at Kardinia Park, Geelong on Sunday.
Electing to bowl first, Sri Lanka made good use of the breeze and tennis-ball bounce offered by a two-paced pitch with some tight bowling to leave Namibia in trouble at 93/6 in 14.2 overs. But Smit (31 not out) joined Frylinck (44) at the crease and the duo added 70 runs in the next 34 balls to take Namibia to 163/7.
Namibia had a shaky start, losing both their openers Michael van Lingen and Divan la Cock in the first three overs. Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton made a sparkling 20 before falling to a wonderful catch from Kusal Mendis with the score being 43/3 at the end of the power-play.
Stephen Baard (26) and captain Gerhard Erasmus (20) were involved in a fifty partnership but were dismissed in quick succession in the middle overs. When fast-bowling all-rounder David Wiese perished for a golden duck against Maheesh Theekshana (1/23), it looked like Namibia would crumble before Frylinck and Smit engineered a rescue act.
The duo targeted Sri Lanka’s wayward bowling at the back end of the innings by targeting the shorter side of the ground for boundaries and ran hard for a lot of twos with the help of the longer side.
For Sri Lanka, star leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (1/27) bowled well during the middle overs. The economy rates of Theekshana and Hasaranga were below seven, while the economy rates of Dushmantha Chameera (1/39), Pramod Madushan (2/37) and Chamika Karunaratne (1/36) were above nine.