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Sri Lanka hope to mend top-order issues in their match against Netherlands

Sri Lanka, the 2014 World T20 champions, have the greatest net run rate in the group and a two-point lead over the rest of the field unless something spectacular happens. In the group stages, the Sri Lankans have lived up to their hype, but they have had their issues, including having to fight back against Ireland in their previous match.

SNS | New Delhi |

Former World T20 champions Sri Lanka will look to resolve top-order issues in their final First Round Group A match against the Netherlands, while the Dutch will want to send their most decorated cricketer, Ryan ten Doeschate, out on a high note when the two sides meet later on Friday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Sri Lanka, the 2014 World T20 champions, have the greatest net run rate in the group and a two-point lead over the rest of the field unless something spectacular happens. In the group stages, the Sri Lankans have lived up to their hype, but they have had their issues, including having to fight back against Ireland in their previous match.

Sri Lanka was in desperate difficulties with only eight runs on the board and three players back in the dressing room until all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, who had been promoted to No. 5, counter-attacked in the Powerplay to dig his team out of the hole. In a match-defining partnership of 123 runs, he was aided by opener Pathum Nissanka. Sri Lanka eventually won by 70 runs.

The Netherlands, too, promptly dispatched Namibia’s first three wickets but were subsequently thwarted by David Wiese’s unbroken 66, which prepared the way for the Dutch’s second straight loss in the competition.

Reflecting on the two defeats, Netherlands senior batter, Stephan Myburgh, said, “Unfortunately, we haven’t played very good cricket at this World Cup.”

“I think we were below par in both games,” he said after the six-wicket loss to Namibia that confirmed their exit from the tournament. They will, however, want to bow out on a high, with the extra motivation being to give Netherlands’ greatest cricketer, Ryan Ten Doeschate, a winning farewell.

Ten Doeschate, like his two centuries at the 2011 Cricket World Cup, would seek to make an impression in his final encounter.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be hoping that their top order burns following two disappointing starts.

Since the suspensions of Danushka, Kusal Mendis, and Niroshan Dickwella, Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur has admitted that the No. 3 hole has been a concern.

“If we can just get that No. 3 position shelved down, we’ll be good. Dinesh Chandimal has it at the moment. Hopefully, he gives us a performance at some stage. We’ve got young Charith Asalanka, who I think is another young player that’s going to play a lot for Sri Lanka, just waiting in the wings. I’m just waiting for someone to grab that position and make it their own,” the coach had said.

After Chandimal’s second failure against Ireland, and with Sri Lanka facing the Netherlands with little to lose, Arthur may consider this as an opportunity to offer Asalanka a shot in the XI.

If Sri Lanka wins, they will finish first in the group. Even if they lose, they are expected to top the group.

Possible Netherlands XI: Max O’Dowd, Stephan Myburgh, Roelof van der Merwe, Colin Ackerman, Ryan ten Doeschate, Scott Edwards (wk), Bas de Leede, Pieter Seelar, Logan van Beek, Fred Klaassen/ Paul van Meekeren, Timm van der Gugten/Brandon Glover.

Possible Sri Lanka XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara.

(With IANS inputs)