Namibia caused one of the biggest T20 World Cup tragedies in recent memory by thrashing Sri Lanka by 55 runs in the tournament opener in Geelong.
The African bowlers posted 7-163 against their imaginary rivals thanks to five batsmen scoring 20 or more runs – led by Jan Freelink’s 44 off 28 balls.
But then their fine fielding and bowling led to disappointment, with only one Sri Lankan batsman scoring more than 20 as they struggled to 4-74 before collapsing to be bowled out for 108.
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Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup just a month ago and entered the tournament as the most likely team yet to qualify for the Super 12 to win it at odds of around 20-1, better than either Afghanistan or Bangladesh (who have already confirmed ) spots in the next step).
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In comparison, Namibia were one of the biggest underdogs at 1,000-1 to win the tournament and were ranked 14th in the world.
But now, if they beat the Netherlands (18th) and the UAE (13th), they will be guaranteed a place in the Super 12 – and even if they beat just one of those countries, they have a strong chance of progressing.
“What we’ve just achieved is beyond what we thought we could do,” Jan Freelink said after the match.
Namibia beat the Netherlands in the group stage of the previous T20 World Cup and also defeated Ireland to reach the Super 12, where they went 1-4 after defeating Scotland.
Sri Lanka will almost certainly need to beat the Netherlands and the UAE to have any chance of progressing.