A disciplined performance by the bowlers and fine fielding followed by half-centuries from Charit Aslanka and Pathum Nisanka, Sri Lanka ended their campaign in the ICC T20 World Cup with a 20-run win over defending champions West Indies here on Thursday.
Sri Lanka’s second win in five matches also ended West Indies’ true hopes of reaching the semi-finals. Now England, Australia and South Africa are in the race for a place in the last four from Group I.
Aslanka scored 68 runs in 41 balls in favorable batting conditions which included eight fours and a six. He shared a 91-run partnership for the second wicket with Nisanka (51 off 41 balls, five fours).
This made Sri Lanka a challenging total of 189 for three when invited to bat first. Only two West Indies batsmen Shimron Hetmyer (81 not out off 54 balls, eight fours, four sixes) and Nicholas Pooran (46 off 34 balls, six fours, one six) reached double digits and in the end his team was 169 for eight. Could only score.
Wanindu Hasaranga, Binuka Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne took two wickets each for Sri Lanka. West Indies did not have a good start and lost the wickets of both the openers Chris Gayle (one) and Evin Lewis (eight) in the second over itself. Binura Fernando caught Gayle at mid-off and after that his ball took the edge of Lewis’s bat and got into the wickets. Gayle could only score 30 runs in four matches of this World Cup.
Pooran too would have reached the pavilion soon but Mahish Teekshna first dropped his catch on his own ball and then on Fernando’s ball. Barring these two occasions, Sri Lanka’s fielding was excellent. Pooran took advantage of the lifeline and hit a six at long on, but West Indies lost the wicket of Roston Chase (nine) in the powerplay, whose Bhanuka Rajapaksa dived to short midwicket and took a fine catch.
Off-spinner Teeksha again bowled hard but failed to take a wicket in the Super 12. The pressure of the increasing range between runs and balls was on the batsmen, due to which Pooran lost his wicket. After Karunaratne dismissed him, Andre Russell (two) sent him to the pavilion as soon as he came.
Hetmyer, who opened his hand with a six off Dushmant Chamera, hit Karunaratne for three consecutive fours to take the team’s score past 100 runs in the 14th over, but Dwayne Bravo (two) after Hasaranga smacked captain Kieron Pollard (zero) on the googly. He also ended the true hopes of West Indies by bowling him.
Hetmyer then hit three sixes and two fours but it only reduced the margin of defeat. Earlier, after losing the toss, Sri Lanka, who came to bat first, scored 48 runs in six overs of the powerplay and lost the wicket of Kusal Perera (29 off 21 balls). Perera had hit Ravi Rampaul for a six at deep square leg but Russell (2 for 33) forced him to catch back by tumbling off a slower ball.
Aslanka and Nisanka batted strategically from here. He focused on rotating the strike instead of playing long shots and was successful in that too. Meanwhile, he also brought loose deliveries to the boundary line and in the meantime did not allow the medium pace bowlers and spinners of West Indies.
Sri Lanka reached triple digits in the 12th over. Nisanka sent off Rampaul’s off-side delivery for four runs at square leg and then took two runs to complete his half-century off 39 balls. This is his third fifty in this format. After this, however, his timing was not right on Bravo’s slow ball and he gave an easy catch on ‘Cow Corner’.
Aslanka completed her half-century off 33 balls. To support them, captain Dasun Shanaka (25 not out off 14 balls) came to the crease, who is known for playing long shots. When Shanaka showed his attitude by hitting six and four on the holder, Aslanka sent Bravo’s ball for six runs. Soon after, Aslanka waved Russell’s ball in the air and caught Shimron Hetmyer.