Campher inspires Ireland while Sri Lanka thrash Namibia in T20 World Cup

Abu Dhabi (AFP) –


Curtis Campher took four wickets in four balls as Ireland eased past the Netherlands at the T20 World Cup on Monday while Sri Lanka spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga set up their win over debutants Namibia.

South African-born Campher took a hat-trick and then struck again to return figures of 4-26 and reduce the Dutch from 51-2 to 51-6, Ireland going on to dismiss them for 106 in the Group A opener in Abu Dhabi.

The 22-year-old medium-pacer joined Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga as the only bowlers to take a four wickets in four balls in T20s.

"To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about it," said Campher after the game.

"Maybe it will set in a little bit later. To be honest I'm just happy with the win and that's all that matters."

In reply, Ireland lost two early wickets but veteran opener Paul Stirling, who made an unbeaten 30, and Gareth Delany, who scored 44, put on 59 runs for the third wicket to ease into their chase.

Ireland cruised to a seven-wicket win with 4.5 overs to spare as player-of-the-match Campher hit the winning runs for his team's first win over the Netherlands in a World Cup.

Former champions Sri Lanka were the other winners in Group A in Abu Dhabi as they dispatched tournament debutants Namibia also by seven wickets.

Theekshana returned figures of 3-25 and Hasaranga took two wickets to help dismiss Namibia for 96.

Namibia hurt Sri Lanka with three wickets in the chase but Avishka Fernando (30) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42) put on an unbeaten stand of 74 to steer the team home in 13.3 overs.

The left-handed Rajapaksa, who survived a dropped catch on 18, smashed four fours and two sixes in his 27-ball blitz.

"We want to get through this qualifying stage. All well went for us," said Sri Lanka Dasun Shanaka.

In a spin: Sri Lanka's Maheesh Theekshana dismissed three Namibian batsmen
In a spin: Sri Lanka's Maheesh Theekshana dismissed three Namibian batsmen INDRANIL MUKHERJEE AFP

"Theekshana has been outstanding. He has been training with Ajantha Mendis back home and has a lot more to offer in the future.

"Winning all three games will definitely put us in a good state of mind, adjusting to conditions will help in the main tournament."

Sri Lanka, who top the Group A table after one match with a higher net run rate, are due to meet Ireland in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday in a match that will likely determine the group winners.

The top two teams from the group will advance into the next stage and join the heavyweights in the seventh edition of the T20 World Cup.