Namibia is stunned by Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup opener in Geelong

Armed with solid confidence, Namibia opened the T20 World Cup with a stunning 55-run thrashing against Sri Lanka.

The Namibians silenced the boisterous pro-Sri Lankan crowd with a stellar overall performance at Kardinia Park in Geelong on Sunday.

It comes after they were one of the stories from last year’s World Cup when they made the Super 12 stage in their first appearance.

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Namibia are back in the box seat after outclassing their opponents on Sunday, just a month after Sri Lanka lifted the Asian Cup.

Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit beat them back into the match with a powerful seventh-wicket stand, Namibia defended their 7-163 with great bowling and fielding to sack Sri Lanka with 108 from 19 overs.

Initially, Frylinck reflected the disbelief of almost everyone in cricket when he accepted his Man of the Match award.

“I’m a bit speechless… what we’ve just achieved is beyond what we thought possible,” said Frylinck, who also conceded two wickets.

Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus celebrates surprising victory over Sri Lanka. Recognition: Getty

But captain Gerhard Erasmus later spoke of much more confidence as they compete at the World Cup for the second time.

“Last year there was more hype and childish beliefs…this year it was more like we played at that level and now we can mentally relate to that level,” he said.

“We can relate to that level physically and skillfully – we’ve played against India and Pakistan before, all those teams.

“We went onto the field at eye level.”

As disciplined as Namibia was, Sri Lanka was terrible.

Sri Lanka won the draw and when off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana edged David Wiese for a golden duck, Namibia was in contention 6-93 from 14.2 overs.

But Frylinck and Smit turned the match with a great score of 70 from 34 when the Sri Lankan attack lost its way.

Frylinck had gone out on the last delivery of the innings and had the highest score with 44 balls from 28, while Smit hit two sixes and two fours in his unbeaten 31 balls from 16 deliveries.

Jan Frylinck (l) caused a stir in Namibia’s shock T20 World Cup win over Sri Lanka. (AP PHOTO) Recognition: AP

Namibia’s rally rolled into the start of the Sri Lankan innings with 22-year-old fast bowler Ben Shikongo scoring a hat-trick in the fourth over.

He fired opener Pathum Nissanka and then Danushka Gunathilaka in his double-wicket maiden to falter Sri Lanka 3-21, a hole they never recovered from.

Shikongo, Wiese and Bernard Scholtz also got two wickets each.

Sri Lanka’s bad day started badly as promising young left-armed paceman Dilshan Madushanka was ruled out of the tournament.

The 22-year-old has a hamstring tear and Binura Fernando, who did not play on Sunday, has taken his place in the World Cup squad.

Captain Dasun Shanaka called for calm as Sri Lanka now need victories over UAE and the Netherlands in their group to progress.

“We have a good team, but it’s about the process,” he said.

“There’s nothing to worry about – it’s the first game… we’re a better team than this, especially when it comes to bowling.”

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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