Sri Lanka, who suffered a major upset when they were beaten by Namibia in their first group match, got their T20I campaign back on track with a comprehensive defeat of the UAE, thanks to a fine collective bowling performance.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands have one foot in the Super 12 stage of the competition. They beat Namibia by five wickets in Geelong, and are the only side in Group One to have maximum points from their first two games.
It means that going into the final round of matches, Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Namibia can all still qualify for the Super 12 stage of the competition.
Sri Lanka redeem themselves
Sunday’s defeat to Namibia was a major upset for the Asia Cup winners, and provoked a fierce reaction among the country’s fans, a fair portion of who were in the ground to witness it.
That meant that there was no room for errors against the UAE, and. in the end, it went largely as they would have hoped.
That does not mean that the performance did not give rise to some concerns, especially with how their batting crumbled, apart from opener Pathum Nissanka, who made 74 from 60 balls, including 2 sixes and six fours.
He had to watch from the other end as Karthik Meiyappan claimed a hat-trick in the 15th over, that at one stage threatened to derail the innings. A final total of 152/8 was adequate, but perhaps not enough to challenge a top side.
Fortunately for them, the Sri Lankan bowlers grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck and the UAE found themselves four down with just 21 on the board in the sixth over.
There was no way back for them from there, and with just two men making it into double figures, the side from the Middle East was all out for 73 in the 18th over.
Wanindu Hasaranga took 3 – 8 and Dushmantha Chameera 3 – 15, and they were ably supported by the rest of the bowling line-up.
On another day Meiyappan might have made the headlights, but his achievement is likely just to go down as a footnote in the history books.
Sri Lanka had won by 79 runs.
The Dutch make heavy weather of it
In the first match of the day, Namibia, fresh off the back of their surprise win over Sri Lanka, faced a Dutch side that had managed to get past the UAE in their first game.
Namibia won the toss and chose to bat first, but initially struggled, and were 63/4, before their innings was given some impetus again by one of their batting heroes against the Sri Lankans.
He made 43 off 48 balls, including a six and a four, and helped his side post a total of 121/6 from their 20 overs.
At first, the Netherlands looked set to cruise to their target, with Max O’Dowd and Vikram Singh put on 59 for the first wicket, and, after Singh was out for 39, O’Dowd and Bas de Leede added 33 more for the second.
But the dismissal of O’Dowd for 35 caused the innings to stumble, and when three wickets fell in the space of seven balls, Namibia scented another victory.
Fortunately for the Dutch side, de Leede, who finished unbeaten on 30, was able to stabilise the ship with Tim Pringle, and they guided their side past the winning post, with three balls and five wickets to spare.
What happens next
The final group matches will be staged on Thursday with the Netherlands playing Sri Lanka, followed by the contest between Namibia and the UAE.
Whilst the UAE are effectively out of contention, all three of the other teams still have a chance to make the Super 12 stage of the tournament. Although to do so both the Sri Lankans and the Namibians need to win their respective matches first.
If that were to occur, with all three teams on four points, it would come down to Net Run Rate to determine the order of precedence. And, although the Irish are currently in the box seat, they are not necessarily well placed in that regard after two narrow victories.
There is still a lot to play for in Geelong.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT CRICKET NEWS STORIES & FEATURES