Sri Lanka book final berth

By
Updated: April 5, 2014

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The weather, Duckworth Lewis and Sri Lanka ended the West Indies’ T20 World Cup reign as the defending champions lost by 27 runs in a premature end to their title defence.

With Sri Lanka firmly in control of proceedings, rain intervened to give the Lions a third crack at winning the title after losing to Pakistan in 2009 and the Windies in 2012.

The Lankan Lions took strike first up with the explosive Perera and Dishan combining for 41 in the first 3.5 overs before the left-hander misjudged a slower delivery from the underrated Santokie only to see the stumps light up after being bowled for 26 off 12 balls.

Mahela Jayawardene, their calming influence during the middle overs, came and went without troubling the scorers after being run out, and to make matters worse Kumar Sangakkara lasted 6 balls before Badree got just reward for another tight spell when he caught the former captain off his own bowling to leave the Asia Champions reeling on 49/3.

Lahiru Thirimanne joined Dilshan and the pair slowly rebuilt the innings until Dilshan became the second run out victim with the score on 91/4 off 13.3 overs, Simmons with a direct hit that shattering the stumps.

Thirimanne, a double centurion during the recent Asia Cup, was featuring in only his second match of the tournament and his counterattacking 44 off 35 provided a platform for Angelo Mathews to slam his way to 40 off 23 and a respectable 160.

The Sri Lankan innings was most impressive if you take into the account that the experience of Jayawardene and Sangakkara failed, leaving the youngsters to carry them through to a potentially match-winning target.

The Windies would have been the happier of the two teams at the changeover which was highlighted when Dwayne Smith hammered Kulasekara for 10 runs off the first two balls of the innings, however an out of touch Chris Gayle struggled to make an impact with three runs off 13 deliveries before Malinga enticed the false shot, bowling the dangerman.

Smith fell four balls later, again bowled by Malinga who was teasing with a shorter length, a more effective ploy considering there is no better exponent of the yorker which is clearly what the batsman were expecting.

Simmons lasted 8 balls before he was trapped in front by leg spinner Prasanna with his first delivery in T20 international cricket, leaving the chaotic Windies chase in tatters.

Marlon Samuels with 18 off 29 applied more pressure on the chase and on the inform Dwayne Bravo with his slow progress, Bravo being forced to keep up with the dwindling rate was eventually caught in the deep for 30 by a superb catch from Jayawardene.