Result sees Sri Lanka top of Group A alongside Ireland as Bandula Warnapura, the former Sri Lankan Test captain, is remembered ahead of the match; watch T20 World Cup live in full on Sky Sports
Monday 18 October 2021 19:22, UK
Sri Lanka cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their ICC Men's T20 World Cup opener as the country paid tribute to Bandula Warnapura.
Players wore black armbands and held a minute's silence ahead of the encounter for the former Sri Lankan Test captain, who died on Monday at the age of 68.
Warnapura captained the country in their first Test match against England in 1982 and was also a respected figure behind the scenes of Sri Lankan cricket.
It was a fitting performance as Sri Lanka were rarely troubled, with Namibia failing to last the full 20 overs of the opening innings.
Stephan Baard and Zane Green were out early before captain Gerhard Erasmus went on 68-3 as he attempted a slog with Namibia desperately looking to put runs on the board.
That signalled a collapse in the middle order as Craig Williams (29) and David Wiese (6) both went for lbw followed by Jan Frylinck for two as Namibia's batters struggled with pace and spin.
Sri Lanka made light work of the rest of the wickets, with captain Dasun Shanaka's catch from Ruben Trumpelmann the pick of the rest as Namibia finished on 97.
As convincing the bowling performance was for Sri Lanka, the batting was far less impressive at the beginning of their own innings.
Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka and Dinesh Chandimal were all quickly seen off by Namibia with Sri Lanka 37-3 after the powerplay.
However, any thoughts of a revival were quickly ended by Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Avishka Fernando whose unbroken partnership of 74 saw Sri Lanka over the line with 39 balls remaining - the biggest margin in Sri Lankan T20 history.
The result sees Sri Lanka top of Group A alongside Ireland, who beat the Netherlands by seven wickets earlier in the day.
Maheesh Theekshana - sent back both openers in the powerplay including Stephan Baard with his first ball and later claimed a deserved third wicket (Jan Frylinck) as Namibia failed to deal with his pace throughout.
Wanindu Hasaranga - kept Namibia's batters guessing with his googlies in the middle phase which helped to claim two impressive wickets.
Lahiru Kumara - kept the pressure on the Namibia batters with a number of successful yorkers at the tail-end of the Namibia order to help finish them off.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa & Avishka Fernando - their unbroken partnership of 74 quickly steadied Sri Lanka's nerves after Namibia threatened an unlikeliest of revivals after the powerplay.
It's the return of Group B on Tuesday with Scotland looking to build on their win over Bangladesh as they face debutants Papua New Guinea at 11am BST.
Meanwhile, the other match sees Bangladesh come up against Oman in the afternoon at 3pm BST.
A win for both Scotland and Oman would see both sides qualify for the Super 12 with a game to spare.
Watch the T20 World Cup live on Sky between now and November 14. Scotland face Papua New Guinea from 10.30am on Tuesday on Sky Sports Cricket, with Bangladesh vs Oman following from 2.30pm on the same channel.