Record-Setting Sri Lanka End World T20 On High Note – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

by Terry Finisterre

Former title holders Sri Lanka and associate nation The Netherlands met on Sunday evening at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia, the 38th Match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The game was a virtual dead rubber, with Sri Lanka unable to advance to the Super 8 round, and the hopes of The Flying Dutchmen hanging by the thinnest of threads.

To move on from the group stages, in addition to beating Sri Lanka (and by a significant margin, at that), The Netherlands would also have needed Nepal to beat Bangladesh in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the event, after a slow start, The Lions roared back to their best.

Sri Lanka, once one of the most beloved teams in the limited overs versions of the game, ICC T20 champions exactly a decade ago, had come into this tournament brim full of anticipation.

But the confidence instilled by their three series victories over Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh were all for naught come the World T20. They came into Sunday’s game winless from their three previous fixtures, albeit with their game against Nepal having been rained out.

It looked like more of the same early on, Pathum Nissanka caught in the deep in the first over with the game scoreless.

But five partnerships of at least 35 each yielded a total of 201-6, tied for the highest score of the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

It was also the first time a team has scored at least 200 at Saint Lucia’s Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, and tied for the 12th highest score ever in the T20 World Cup.

Sri Lanka had only once before crossed the double-century mark at the World Cup, through their 260/6 back in 2007 stands as the highest team total in tournament history.

On a true wicket at the DSCG, Kusal Mendis went for 46 off 29 balls, with five boundaries. Charith Asalanka was even more destructive, his 46 including just one four, but five towering sixes. Dhananjaya de Silva made 34, and the veteran Angelo Mathews added 30 from just 15 deliveries.

Mathews is the only Sri Lankan player still active from that 2014 trophy win, during the course of which his men defeated The Netherlands in a contest that served up a combined 79 runs!

Only twice in the history of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup had a team chased in excess of 200 to win. The Netherlands would not be the third.

They managed to avoid the ignominy of setting the lowest total ever at the venue, 105, but not by much. Their total of 118 all out in 16.4 overs owed much to a fast start from Michael Levitt, 31 off 23 balls, and a matching 31 off 24 balls from captain Scott Edwards.

Right arm medium pacer Nuwan Thushara took three wickets for just 24 runs from his 3.4 overs, however, to end the game as a contest, and maintaining Sri Lanka’s 100% record against Associate nations.

Sri Lanka won by 83 runs.

With Sri Lanka set to co-host the 2026 T20 World Cup, they will be pleased to have ended this year’s competition with a win, but there is much to reflect on.

The final group match at the DSCG will pit two teams already qualified for the Super 8’s, Afghanistan and co-hosts the West Indies.

ICC Photo