Namibia has caused one of the biggest T20 World Cup upsets in recent memory, smashing Sri Lanka by 55 runs in the opening match of the tournament in Geelong.
The African minnows set their fancied rivals a strong total of 7-163, thanks to five batters totalling 20 runs or more – led by Jan Frylinck’s 44 off 28 balls.
But then it was their excellent fielding and bowling which set up the upset, with only one Sri Lankan batter scoring more than 20 runs, struggling to 4-74 then collapsing to be all out for 108.
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Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup barely a month ago and came into the tournament as the most likely side not already qualified for the Super 12 to win it, given betting odds of around 20-1, better than Afghanistan or Bangladesh (who already have confirmed spots in the next stage).
By comparison Namibia was one of the biggest outsiders, as long as 1000-1 to win the tournament and ranked 14th in the world.
But now if they defeat the Netherlands (ranked 18th) and the UAE (13th) they will be guaranteed a Super 12 spot – and even if they beat just one of those nations, they’re a strong chance to advance.
“What we just achieved is above what we thought we could do,” Jan Frylinck said post-match.
Namibia beat the Netherlands in the group stage of the previous T20 World Cup, also defeating Ireland to make the Super 12, where they went 1-4 with a win over Scotland.
Sri Lanka will almost certainly need to beat the Netherlands and UAE to have any chance of progressing.