Sri Lanka thump West Indies with a crisp all-round exhibit in final Group 1 match – by Sunil Thenabadu (eLanka Sports editor)
Asalanka, Nissanka fifties surpassed Hetmyer’s unbeaten 81 in high-scoring clash to take fourth position in Group 1 points table
Sri Lanka 189 for 3 (Asalanka 68, Nissanka 51 Shanaka 25 n.o) beat West Indies 169 for 8 (Hetmyer 81*, Pooran 46, Hararanga 2-19, Fernando 2-24) by 20 runs .
In a game featuring some of T20s greatest names – Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard ,Jason Holder, Russell etc -against Sri Lanka’s average group of players under 27 that really shone.. West Indies is classified as a very formidable side having clinched the T20 plum twice the latest was in the 6th edition against England three years ago. All players in addition have had plenty of experience and knowledge in T 20 format having participated in many tournaments like IPL, Caribbean premier League etc.Also having at the helm celebrataed batsman Chris Gayle now 42 years old who holds the record for the fastest T 20 century in just 30 balls.in an IPL match.
The toss was won by WI skipper Pollard as rule willing to chase in this T 20 WC tournament opted to field. Kusal Perera unlike in previous innings was scoring freely middling the ball to precision against the pacemen Chase, Holder and Rampaul .,But when Russel was introduced in the sixth over in his second ball gave a dolly return catch for a well-made 29 runs with the total on 42.Dependable and T 20 find for Sri Lanka Charith Asalanka joined Pathum Nissanka who was a bit subdued started keeping pace with the No 3 Charith Asalanka who as usual was into his usual stride scoring quickly sans any respite for the Windies bowlers.The duo added ninety one quick and entertaining runs for the second wicket when Nissanka losing patience mistimed a stroke off Bravo to be well caught by Hetmeyer for 51 his second fifty in phase two compiled in 41 balls with five hits to the fence, Dasun Shanaka came in at number four in order to accelerate the score which he did with dangerous Asalanka who batted very confidently in his flamboyant style which is a delight to watch scoring 68 runs in just 41 balls with 8 fours and a solitary six to be caught off a mistimed pull by Hetmeyer off Russel in the 19th over for SL to be 179 for three wickets.Dasun Shanaka remained unbeaten on 25 in just 14 balls with the aid of 2 fours and a six.In the allotted 20 overs SL made 189 for the loss of 3 wickets the highest score made in the super 12 league matches. It needs to be mentioned at the end of this encounter Charith Aslanaka remains the leading run score scoring over 200 runs in front of Jos Buttler in the whole super 12 matches to date.
This total was a winning one.West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals with three wickets falling cheaply for 47 runs in 6th over.But the fourth wicket pair wicket keeper Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer both hard hitting left handers flayed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the field before the former Pooran was caught by substitute fielder Dhananjaya De Silva for a well made 46 runs in 34 balls with 6 fours and a six,This was when the total was 77 in the 12th over.While wickets feel at the opposite end also at regular intervals Hetmyer stroked 8 fours and 4 sixes to be unbeaten on 81 in 54 balls, a commendable and determined effort. West Indies were 169 for the loss of eight wickets in their allotted 20 overs thanks to Poornam and Hetmyer who were the only to get into double figures .For Sri Lanka it was the world’s no 1 T 20 bowler who was most impressive coming to bowl late in the innings clean bowled Pollard and Dwayne Bravo two world famous T 20 batsmen to get figures of 2 for 19 in his allotted four overs. Earlier, Binura Fernando who replaced Lahiru Kumara also took 2 wickets for 24 runs while Chamika Karunaratne who gives 100 per cent always took 2 for 43 in his allotted four overs.
Charith Asalanka was once more adjudicated as the ‘Player of the Match”.
Although Sri Lanka lived up toexpectations were unlucky to have lost to South Africa, otherwise may have had a chance to get a Semi Final berth.But this was a huge learning curve for the young fighting T 20 unit….
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup