Sri Lanka became the first team to secure their spot in the ICC World Cup 2023 after defeating Zimbabwe by nine wickets at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club. Sri Lanka won all their four matches in the Super Sixes stage to qualify. The prestigious ICC tournament is set to begin in India on October 5 with first match between England and New Zealand at Ahmedabad.
Opting to bowl first, Sri Lanka’s bowlers delivered a stunning performance, dismantling the Zimbabwean batting lineup and restricting them to a mere 165 runs in 32.2 overs. Maheesh Theekshana shone with the ball, claiming four wickets for 25 runs in 8.2 overs. Sikandar Raza contributed with a valuable 31-run knock, while Sean Williams top-scored with 56 runs.
Chasing the target, Sri Lanka faced no major challenges as they comfortably reached the required total of 166 runs in 33.1 overs. Opener Pathum Nissanka displayed exceptional batting prowess, remaining unbeaten with a century, scoring 101 runs off 102 deliveries. Dimuth Karunaratne supported him with a steady 30 off 56 balls, while Kusal Mendis contributed an unbeaten 25 runs off 42 deliveries.
As Sri Lanka celebrated their qualification, skipper Dasun Shanaka emphasized that their primary focus now lies on the upcoming World Cup. Shanaka acknowledged Sri Lanka’s impressive history in World Cups, having won the title in 1996 and finishing as runners-up in 2011. The skipper expressed the team’s eagerness to deliver on the grand stage once again.
Speaking about their success in the tournament, Shanaka credited his team’s skills and their ability to adapt to varying conditions. He highlighted their commitment to sticking to the basics and executing their game plan effectively.
While Sri Lanka has secured their World Cup spot, Shanaka made it clear that they would not take their foot off the gas. Despite having already qualified, the team aims to maintain their intensity and give their best in their upcoming match against West Indies.
Sri Lanka’s next challenge awaits them as they face West Indies on Friday at the Harare Sports Club. The clash against the Caribbean side presents an opportunity for Sri Lanka to continue their winning momentum and further solidify their preparations for the highly anticipated World Cup.