ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former T20 World Cup champion Sri Lanka survived an early batting collapse to beat Namibia by seven wickets in their first group game on Monday.
Also in Group A, Curtis Campher became the third bowler to grab four wickets in four balls in a Twenty20 as Ireland crushed the Netherlands by seven wickets also.
Ireland and Sri Lanka are both favored to advance to the Super 12 stage.
Sri Lanka lost three wickets within the batting powerplay for 26 runs before avoiding further hiccups by reaching 100-3 in 13.3 overs after Namibia was all out for 96 in 19.3 overs.
Offspinner Maheesh Theekshana (3-25) and legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2-24) shared the bulk of the Namibia wickets.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, dropped on 18 at fine leg, went on to score an unbeaten 42 off 27 balls for Sri Lanka alongside Avishka Fernando, who was 30 not out. Both batsmen shared an unbeaten 74-run stand for the 2014 champion.
Theekshana struck with his first ball in the powerplay by removing Stephan Baard (7) and followed it up with the wicket of Zane Green (8), caught at mid-on in the sixth over.
Top-scorer Craig Williams (29) and skipper Gerhard Erasmus (20) added 39 runs but Namibia lost its last eight wickets for only 28 runs in a dramatic collapse.
Hard-hitting David Wiese, who also represented South Africa, couldn’t negotiate the slow pitch and scored just 6 off 7 balls before he was out lbw to fast bowler Chamika Karunaratne in the 15th over.
IRELAND CRUSHES THE NETHERLANDS
Campher’s outstanding feat helped him take 4-26 as the Netherlands was bowled out for 106 after captain Pieter Seelaar won the toss and elected to bat first.
Ireland then cruised to 107-3 in 15.1 overs with Gareth Delany hitting 44 in 29 deliveries and Paul Stirling making an unbeaten 30 off 39 balls.
“First over didn’t go as planned but Bal (captain Andy Balbirnie) kept faith with me,” Campher said. “I didn’t feel the best, coming back from injury, just kept trying to bang the length.”
Campher benefitted from the ICC’s decision to introduce the Decision Review System for the first time in a T20 World Cup, which allows teams to go for television referrals against two unsuccessful appeals in every game.
The right-arm fast bowler Campher opted for a TV review when Colin Ackermann (11) went for a pull shot. The batsman was adjudged not out by on-field Australian umpire Rod Tucker but replays suggested he gloved the ball to wicketkeeper Neil Rock.
Campher then had Ryan ten Doeschate lbw off the next delivery but on the hat-trick ball Tucker again erred and Scott Edwards was ruled lbw after a TV referral.
When Roelof van der Merwe played the fast bowler back onto his stumps, Campher's four-in-four equaled Rashid Khan of Afghanistan and Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka. The Netherlands slipped to 51-6 in 9.5 overs.
Opening batsman Max O’Dowd scored a fighting 51 and Seelaar made 21 before seamer Mark Adair (3-9) claimed two wickets in the last over.
“One freak over changed the whole game around,” Seelaar said. “If we’d got to 150-160 it could have been a good game, but if you lose four in one over you’re always struggling.”
The World Cup started on Sunday when Scotland upset Bangladesh by six runs in Group B and co-host Oman thumped debutant Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets.
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