Superb Sri Lanka storm into title round

Thirimanne, Mathews sparkle as SL beat Windies by 27 runs via D/L method
Last Updated 03 April 2014, 17:23 IST
A dominant Sri Lanka today made it to the ICC World T20 final for the third time knocking out defending champions West Indies by 27 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method after thundershowers stopped proceedings in the 14th over of the second innings.

Batting first in the first semi-final, Sri Lanka scored an impressive 160 for six riding on important contributions from Angelo Mathews (40) and Lahiru Thirimanne (45). In reply, West Indies were 80 for four in 13.5 overs when a storm followed by heavy downpour ruled out any chances of a game.

The D/L par score at that point of time was 107 and the Caribbeans were well short of the target, struggling at 80 for four in 13.5 overs.

There was certainly no 'Gayle-storm' but the 15-minute 'Kalboisakhi' (NorWesters), as they call in this part of the world, turned the ground into a lake. Umpires Richard Kettleborough and Rod Tucker had to wait as per rules before Sri Lanka were adjudged winners.

But the Lankans were the deserving winners considering that West Indies were never in the hunt during their chase except for the first over.

Dwayne Smith (17) made his intentions clear in the first two balls bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara, lofting him for a boundary and a six respectively as 17 came from the first over.

Chris Gayle (3) looked out of touch and looked shaky having been hit on the shinbone while fielding. After scratching around for a dozen deliveries, he played a Lasith Malinga slower delivery onto his stumps.

The skipper then bowled another slow off-break that breached through Dwayne Smith's defence.

After their stand-in captain provided twin breakthroughs, the rejuvenated Lankans stemmed the flow of runs with some tight bowling.

Lendl Simons (4) was done in by a flipper from leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna as he was caught plumb on the back-foot.

West Indies were struggling at 34 for three at the start of the eighth over. 

Marlon Samuels' struggle on the slow Mirpur track continued as he simply failed to get going against Rangana Herath and Prasanna. His first positive shot was an uppish cover drive off Herath.

Dwayne Bravo (30) got his first six off the same over from Herath, lofting him over extra cover, but it proved to be his only big hit of the match as he mistimed a pull shot for Mahela Jayawardene to take a nice catch running forward from his deep square leg position.

The target was very difficult but skipper Darren Sammy has done it against Australia. However, the Caribbean fans' hopes were dashed by the thundershowers.

Earlier, Lahiru Thirimanne arrested a top-order slide while Angelo Mathews played a lovely cameo as Sri Lanka posted a fighting total.

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

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

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 off a single as 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 the 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, playing it towards mid-off. The single was non-existent and he was rightly sent back by 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.
(Published 03 April 2014, 16:37 IST)

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