Asalanka - Nissanka put up 91-run match defining stand for the second wicket for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 189/3 in 20 overs (Asalanka 68, Nissanka 51; Russell 2/33) defeat West Indies 169/8 in 20 overs (Hetmyer 81*, Pooran 46; Fernando 2/24, Hasaranga 2/19) by 20 runs
West Indies were always going to be up against a stiff challenge of being motivated coming into the game after two losses in three games. Winning the toss barely ensured they could deflect the calamitous outcome for them in the match as they chose to field first on a batter-friendly surface.
Sri Lanka effectively foiled the chances of the Caribbean team for making it into the playoffs, eliminating them from the competition.
Sri Lanka got off to a good start
Getting to bat first came as a blessing in disguise for the Sri Lankan side as the openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera got off to a roaring start. The first time Sri Lankan openers got a steady start to their innings in the tournament so far.
Both the openers kept the run flow at 7 runs per over. The duo weaved a well-coordinated opening stand before all-rounder Andre Russell gave West Indies their first breakthrough in the 6th over. He dismissed Kusal Perera with a brilliant catch in his follow through for 29 runs, and Sri Lanka lost their first wicket on 42 runs. New batter Charith Asalanka came to the middle and added 6 runs including a boundary as Sri Lanka scored 48/1 at the end of the powerplay.
Asalanka anchored SL innings
Charith Asalanka, the man in form for Sri Lanka, proceeded in the innings with the same approach which he did in the previous outings but failed to convert it into a really big one. He punished West Indies bowlers, hitting them all over the park for boundaries. On the other hand, Nissanka played like a responsible opener and maintained a healthy run-rate with regular boundaries.
Sri Lanka crossed the 100-run mark in the 12th over with 9 wickets still in hand and an opportunity to go for a big total. Their quest was very well in control until Nissanka reached his 3rd half-century in the T20Is which was his second fifty in the ongoing T20I World Cup. But he departed in the 16th over by fending the ball towards the cow corner to Shimron Hetmyer off Dwayne Bravo’s over for 51 runs. Sri Lanka had now lost their second wicket on 133 runs in 15.3 overs.
However, Asalanka on the other end continued with his gleaming form as he took on all the Caribbean bowlers during his knock. He was finally dismissed by Andre Russell who chipped in with his 2nd wicket in the match. Asalanka smashed 68 runs studded with 8 boundaries and a six and anchored his side’s innings in the game. First-off, he stitched a 91-run partnership with Nissanka, followed by a 46-run stand with the skipper Dasun Shanaka who scored an unbeaten 25* runs.
Sri Lanka posted 189/3 after 20 overs and put a competitive total against West Indies.
Fernando banishes WI openers
Chasing 190 runs was the ultimate option for the West Indies to remain in the race for the semi-finals in the tournament. But the task became uphill after the side were reduced to 10/2 in just two overs. Both the openers, Evin Lewis (8) and Chris Gayle (1) departed cheaply after falling prey to Binura Fernando who struck twice to give SL a good grip of the game.
West Indies also lost their third wicket within the powerplay in the form of Roston Chase who got out on just 9 runs off Chamika Karunaratne’s over. Despite losing their top three batters, West Indies still managed 52 runs in the powerplay at the loss of three wickets.
Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran added 30 runs for the 5th wicket before it came to an end as Pooran trying to clear the ball over long-off but got caught by the substitute Akila Dhananjaya for 46 runs. He fell short of his 4th T20I half-century by just four runs and West Indies were found in a spot of bother at 77/4 after 11.1 overs. West Indies needed 113 more runs from 53 balls with six wickets in hand.
Shimron Hetmyer’s last man-crusade goes in vain
While all the remaining West Indies batters failed to show resistance and the target also became daunting, the required run-rate in the meanwhile crossed above 15 runs per over. Amidst all this, Hetmeyer led the chase for West Indies with a lone battle with an unbeaten 81 runs off just 54 deliveries. He hit 8 boundaries and four sixes at a strike rate of 150.00, and kept his side’s hopes alive during the chase. Unfortunately, the latter failed to get support from the other end, while he continued with his onslaught.
Credit goes to Sri Lankan bowlers who displayed sheer class of bowling in the game. They strategized a systematic destruction of West Indies which looked evident in the latter’s fallout. Karunaratne removed the middle-order batters including the destructive Andre Russell cheaply for just 2 runs. Removing the lower-order was divided among Wanindu Hasaranga and Dasun Shanaka as Sri Lanka clinched their 2nd win of the tournament.
Hasaranga bowled WI skipper Kieron Pollard for a golden duck, followed by a crucial scalp of Dwayne Bravo (2) and finished with an impressive spell of 2/19. West Indies were reduced to 169/8 in 20 overs and lost the game by 20 runs in the end and got eliminated from the tournament following this defeat.
Player of the match
Charith Asalanka became the player of the match for his audacious knock of 68 runs off 41 balls. Ever since he made a cut into the team, he has looked promising. He has started off his innings with aggressive intent but has failed to convert them into big scores. But in this game, he put besides that jinx and played a valorous knock and helped Sri Lanka put a good total.
Stats and Facts
Dwayne Bravo is the leading run-getter and wicket-taker for West Indies against Sri Lanka in T20Is (226 runs & 15 wickets).
Sri Lanka registered their highest total against West Indies in the T20Is on Thursday. SL posted 189/3 in 20 overs.
Wanindu Hasaranga now has most number of wickets in a T20 World Cup edition. He has so far taken 16 wickets in the tournament.
Here are some of the top twitter reactions from SLvsWI game: