Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ICC: Namibia captain Erasmus believes pressure is on Sri Lanka

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Photo Credit: ICC

Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus believes all of the pressure is on Sri Lanka as his side make their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup debut tomorrow.

Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus believes all of the pressure is on Sri Lanka as his side make their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup debut tomorrow.

The Eagles’s first match at the tournament comes against the 2014 winners, who have played more T20 World Cup matches than any other team.

And that is why Erasmus says Namibia have nothing to lose and everything to gain in Abu Dhabi.

“I think most definitely the pressure is on them to win,” said the 26-year-old.

“We are going in there with a permanent underdog tag and that is always nice, makes us nice and free.

“Maybe they are a bit under pressure because of recent results and that puts a team up for the taking, and if we do it well, we can take them down. 

“We’ve played lots of T20 cricket against high-quality opposition, and we have travelled a bit so we are accustomed to playing in different conditions, playing against different skills.

“I am more than happy with our prep and if we can bring it together for these three games, I am confident we can go through.”

As Namibia makes its T20 World Cup debut, coach Pierre de Bruyn explained how the occasion is not lost on his players.

“It’s been a long wait and the players can’t wait to get going,” he said.

“These players have dreamt about this opportunity since they were five years old, six years old, and that dream is coming true tomorrow, so there is excitement as well as nervousness and pressure.”

Pierre de Bruyn, Namibia National Men’s Head coach on the eve of the T20 World Cup

Photo Credit: Cricket Namibia

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur is leading a settled side into their seventh T20 World Cup campaign.

Working with Mahela Jayawardene, Arthur has crunched the numbers to decide the Lions’ best batting line-up with Avishka Fernando confirmed to be batting at four.

Arthur said: “I think we’ve prepared really well, we had 10 days in Colombo as well and then against Oman it was great for us and allowed us to look at different combinations.

“Players got into some really good form, we sorted out exactly the brand of cricket we wanted to play, and then coming here, we’ve just capitalised a little bit on that and so I couldn’t be happier.

“We have sorted out the number three position, Avishka is very comfortable at four. He’s done exceptionally well there.

“We had a bit of a brainstorming session, Mahela came with a plan, he had a look at the stats which he sent on to Dasun [Shanaka, captain] and myself and we had a look at the stats.

“It was pretty clear for Avishka that number four was a good fit for him in terms of the brand of cricket we wanted to play. 

“We’ve got that sorted so Avishka will bat four tomorrow definitely and then we’ve got a plan for number three, so we’re very settled at the moment.

“Going into tomorrow, it was just the number three position, that was the one that was outstanding for us, and we made a decision today, so let’s hope that all goes well.”

Sri Lanka are in Group A in the first round of fixtures and as well as taking on Namibia, they will face Ireland and the Netherlands.

Only the top two progress to the Super 12s and Arthur is aware of how crucial an opening win could be

“It’s really important, this is a bit of a cutthroat little qualifier, you’ve got three games and you’ve got to hit the ground running without a doubt,” Arthur added.

“Oman got off to the perfect start today and hopefully we can go some way to replicating that tomorrow.”

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