Thirimanne, Mathews take Sri Lanka to 160/6

Thirimanne, Mathews take Sri Lanka to 160/6

Lahiru Thirimanne arrested a top-order slide while Angelo Mathews played a lovely cameo as Sri Lanka posted a fighting 160 for six against defending champions West Indies in the first semi-final of the ICC World T20 here today.

Thirimanne scored 44 off 35 balls while Mathews blasted his way in the final two overs smashing 40 off only 23 balls. Veteran opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (39) did not convert a good start while other two seniors Mahela Jayawardene (0) and Kumar Sangakkara (1) did not even get going.

Mathews scored 32 runs in the final two overs bowled by Krishmar Santokie and Andre Russell to get Sri Lanka. Mathews had three fours and two sixes in his knock.

The worrying point for West Indies could be dashing opener Chris Gayle getting hurt in the shin-bone region while trying to back up for a powerful throw from Marlon Samuels. Gayle limped off the field in the 15th over.

The Lankan openers gave a flying start to the innings, getting 32 off the first three overs. It was one such day when opening bowlers Santokie (2/46 in 4 overs) and Samuel Badree (1/23 in 4 overs) did not get the length right in the initial overs. Badree, however, did well in the second spell.

After an uppishly driven boundary by Dilshan off Badree past mid-off, young Kusal Perera (26) got stuck into Santokie hitting him for two boundaries in the second over. First was a swing past deep fine leg as he bowled it on pads, the second was picked from outside the off-stump and hit over mid-wicket.

In Badree's next over, both Dilshan and Perera used their feet as they hit the leggie for a six each. Perera looked in great touch as he dispatched a Santokie length ball over long-on for his second six as 41 runs were added in 3.5 overs before the left-arm seamer got lucky.

It was an ordinary delivery that was short on length and Perera only managed to chop it on to the stumps. Jayawardene was unlucky as Dilshan proved to be a poor judge and Darren Sammy's throw from point caught the non-striker a foot off the crease.

With two quick wickets after the initial blast, Sammy quickly changed Badree's bowling end and it yielded result immediately.

Badree flighted one and new man Sangakkara couldn't reach to pitch of the delivery while committing a drive to present the bowler an easy return catch.
From 41 in four overs, the next six produced only 24 runs and Sri Lanka also lost two wickets in the process.

Thirimanne showed positive intent from the onset as Dilshan became an increasingly silent partner in their 42-run fifth-wicket partnership.

Dilshan couldn't convert his start as he was run-out in pursuit of another adventurous single as he played it towards mid-off. The single was non-existent and he was rightly sent back his partner Thirimanne but he couldn't beat the direct throw.

Dilshan's run-a-ball 39 had two fours and a six. Thirmanne hit a couple of sixes in his 35-ball 44 but failed to pick up a slower one from Santokie as he slashed it straight to point.

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