Namibia’s opening day win over Sri Lanka looms large over Group A as it makes the first Thursday match a must-win for the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. The Netherlands’ run rate is weak enough that a defeat here would see them eliminated if Nambia (as expected) beats UAE. Sri Lanka must win, with their run rate far superior to the Netherlands after they battered UAE last time. It would be a cruel blow for the Netherlands to be knocked out after going into Round 3 as Group A leaders, but that is the scenario they are facing unless they can knock off the heavily favored Sri Lankans.
Here is a look at the two matches with odds from BetXchange.
Netherlands VS Sri Lanka – Kardinia Park, Geelong
- The Netherlands – 9/2
- Sri Lanka – 1/7
The Netherlands will be boosted by the news of some injuries that have been picked up in the Sri Lanka camp. Their best seamer – Dushmantha Chameera – will miss the rest of the World Cup after tearing his calf. In addition, fast bowler Pramod Madushan is likely to be sidelined for this one with a hamstring issue.
This will mean that even more of the bowling spotlight will fall on their spin twins. Wanindu Hasarange and Maheesh Theekshana were incredible against UAE, and the two of them will have to make the most of their four overs each against a Netherlands side capable of swinging the bat for a good knock.
The Sri Lankan batting hasn’t been spared the injury bug either, with Danushka Gunathilaka also being lost for the rest of the tournament.
Bas de Leede needs to drag the Dutch with him here. He was an unbeaten 30 off of 30 balls against Namibia after going 2/18 with the ball. He has plenty of class, and he will need the likes of Max O’Dowd to help him in a potential run chase. Either way, unless O’Dowd or De Leede explodes, it is hard to see anything other than a Sri Lanka win.
Namibia VS UAE – Kardinia Park, Geelong
- Namibia – 9/20
- UAE – 35/20
Namibia faces a UAE side that is without a win in Group A, but that has flashed enough at times with the bat and ball to suggest they could play spoiler. Namibia’s net run rate means that all they will need to do is win here no matter what happens in the first game, and they will have bags of confidence from their big score in Round 1’s win over Sri Lanka.
Namibia beat UAE by 17 runs last year, with Jan Frylinck taking six wickets. He will again be the play that the Namibians look to for inspiration after he starred in the win over Sri Lanka. Look for more from JJ Smit and David Wiese, players with class who were not utilized to their max against the Netherlands.
Namibia could be vulnerable as they have been backloading their batting. This has led to low scores through 15 overs in their first two wins. It worked against Sri Lanka but was ineffective against the Netherlands. I expect Namibia to win, but I would like to see them be a little more aggressive early in their innings here.