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Sri Lanka vs Namibia Prediction: Who will win today's T20 World Cup 2021 match?

How will the Sri Lankans fare in the T20 World Cup?
How will the Sri Lankans fare in the T20 World Cup?
SENIOR ANALYST

It's not often in cricket that a former world champion is forced to meet a debutant in the qualifying round of a marquee tournament. But that's what we'll witness when Group A's Sri Lanka take on Namibia in the fourth match of the 2021 T20 World Cup on Monday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Dasun Shanaka's Sri Lanka will head into the game on the back of two dominating wins in the warm-up matches. They bested Group B favorites Bangladesh by four wickets before trouncing Paupa New Guniea by 39 runs.

Gerhard Erasmus-led Namibia, on the other hand, are coming off two straight losses - a 32-run defeat by Oman and a 19-run thumping at the hands of Scotland. This might sound like a one-way contest, but Sri Lanka's recent troubles and Namibia's form in the lead up to the tournament make things trickier than they seem.

T20 World Cup 2021: Spirited Namibia look to exploit weakened Sri Lanka

විස්සයි-20 ලෝක කුසලාන ක්‍රිකට් තරගාවලියේ තරග වල පන්දුවෙන් පන්දුවට වූ සජීවී විස්තර විචාරය ⬇️ bit.ly/3ASKjA2 🎤🎧#T20WorldCup #RoaringForGlory #ApeKollo

The last thing that Sri Lanka can afford in this tournament is complacency. Other Group A participants - the Netherlands, Ireland and Namibia - are all capable of defeating them on their day. And with only two of these four teams allowed to go ahead, even one slip-up can make Sri Lanka go through the humiliation of not even making it to the Super 12 stage.

Do they have the resources to avoid any such causality? Without the ban-serving Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka, Sri Lanka are a bit too short on experience than they would have liked. Their playing XI on Monday hasn't had much game time together either.

However, the Islanders still possess enough arsenal to keep their opponents' dreams at bay. The batting is in good hands with the in-form Avishka Fernando and the dynamic Kusal Perera. Sri Lanka's series against India earlier in the year showed that their host of all-rounders - Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva, to name a couple - can play with gumption when the teams need it the most.

And bowling remains Sri Lanka's most potent weapon. In Wanindu Hasaranga they have a superstar who can single-handedly annihilate batting lineups. Dushmantha Chameera provides new-ball prowess and skipper Shanaka fills in the gaps in the lineup with his medium pace.

One of the few things that's guarding against them is their international form. Sri Lanka have lost 85% of their T20Is in the last year, most of them through inexplicable batting collapses. Anything similar in the UAE will put immense pressure on the young team, given the expectations they carry.

Finding the strength and camaraderie to stitch these deficiencies will be crucial if they have to make it through to the main draw.

The Eagles have landed!! 🦅🇳🇦@CricketNamibia1 trained in Abu Dhabi for the first time tonight ahead of their opening match against Sri Lanka on Monday!#T20WorldCup #LiveTheGame #AbuDhabiCricket #InAbuDhabi https://t.co/3VXZo31kB4

In that context, the Lankans will take Namibia lightly at their peril. The Eagles, as their name suggests, are tenacious and high flyers. And with the kind of match-winners they possess, a Namibia win over Sri Lanka can't be ruled out completely.

In Zane Green and Stephen Baard, Namibia have the near-perfect combination of aggression and composure at the top of the order. What follows them is a host of big-hitters with the exception of newish recruit David Wiese. The former South African cricketer puts the team on an even-kneel with his batting, while also offering a much-needed right-arm variation in the predominantly left-arm seam attack.

Skipper Erasmus, who will likely bat at no.4, is almost an Associate Cricket legend and one of the most consistent batters in Namibia. He's also an enterprising off-spinner who only adds value to an already brilliant bowling lineup.

While most Namibia bowlers lack the X-factor pace or variations, they are rich in experience and can inflict damage as a unit. An all-time top wicket-taker for the country, Bernard Scholtz is the leader of the pack and can irritate batters with his accuracy.

Ruben Trumpelmann, another former South African national, offers pace and seam movement and flanks Scholtz well. Then comes JJ Smit. The left-arm medium-pacer is not only mighty accurate at the death, but he can also hit the old ball a long way in the lower order. Upcoming leg-spinner Nicole Loftie-Eaton rounds up what looks like a well-balanced bowling lineup.

While the warmup defeats would have surely dented their confidence, Namibia have a decent pre-tournament winning streak to bank on in tough times. At the very least, they'll challenge Sri Lanka to the limit in Abu Dhabi.

Even so, Sri Lanka's experience and big-match pedigree should see them stave off a blunder against the spirited Namibians in this match.

Prediction: Sri Lanka to win match four of T20 World Cup 2021


Edited by Samya Majumdar
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