Netherlands’ batsmen walk back to the pavilion after their win against Namibia in Twenty20 World Cup match at Kardinia Park in Geelong on Tuesday. AFP
Netherlands took a surprising lead in Group A at the Twenty20 World Cup after a last-over win on Tuesday against Namibia, the team that upset former champion Sri Lanka in the tournament’s opening match.
Allrounder Bas de Leede hit the winning runs in a run-a-ball 30 as Netherlands chased down the target of 122 with three balls to spare.
He earlier took two important wickets to remove Jan Frylinck (43) and Gerhard Erasmus (16) as Namibia was restricted to 121-6 after winning the toss and opting to bat, hoping to build momentum after its 55-run win over Sri Lanka.
It was the second last-over victory in as many games for Netherlands, which edged United Arab Emirates with a ball to spare in a low-scoring game on Sunday and now is two from two in the preliminary stage and well in contention for a spot in the next round.
The Dutch are the lowest-ranked squad in the tournament at No. 18 but have produced some big upsets in the past with two wins over England, including one in their tournament debut in 2009.
“I don’t know if we want to be known as the team that takes it down to the last few balls, but obviously stoked to have the two wins on the board,” Netherlands captain Scott Edwards said “It was a little bit closer than we wanted, but we got there in the end.”
The top two teams in each of the first-round groups advance to the Super 12s, which starts next weekend.
Edwards said joining the top eight ranked teams in the next round is “well and truly in our hands.”
Sri Lanka, which needed to recover quickly and dramatically improve its net run rate or risk dropping out of contention, was sent in to bat first in the night match after UAE won the toss.
Both teams made one injury-enforced lineup change, with Chairth Asalanka replacing top-order batter Danushka Gunathilaka for Sri Lanka and Aryan Lakra replacing Zawar Farid in the UAE XI.
The Dutch were in control of the day’s earlier game but had a wobble chasing quick runs late in the innings, losing four wickets for 10 runs – including three wickets for a run – to slip from 92-1 to 102-5.
Max O’Dowd shared a 59-run opening stand with Vikramjit Singh (39) and scored a run-a-ball 35 in two solid partnerships at the top of the order to get the run-chase underway before he was run out by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end, triggering the middle-order collapse.
But De Leede, who went in at No. 3, remained composed to guide his team to 122-5.
“I think I could take a bit of experience from two days ago. It’s nice to back it up again,” De Leede said of the back-to-back narrow wins. For Netherlands, advancing may still depend on a win over Sri Lanka in the last group game on Friday.
“The self belief has always been there,” de Leede said of the back-to-back wins. “It opens up a bit more freedom for the boys.”
In another big early upset at the tournament, Scotland beat two-time champion West Indies by 42 runs on Monday in Hobart in the opening game in Group B.