Rain ends contest with West Indies, chasing 161, floundering on 80 for four in 13.5 overs

No balm will fully heal Sri Lanka’s bitter wounds from two years ago, but at least it will help that the islanders have now earned another shot at the ICC World Twenty20.

At a sopping wet Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here on Thursday, Sri Lanka snaffled a 27-run win by the Duckworth-Lewis method over West Indies, the very team it had been stung by in Colombo, to advance to the final of the tournament for a second straight time.

Chasing 161, West Indies was floundering on 80 for four in 13.5 overs – the DL par score was 107 – when rain stopped play. Clouds of dust first blew in off the roof at 9:40 p.m. local time, presaging the downpour.

Hailstorm

The rain followed in seconds, lashing the ground in sheets. It soon turned into an angry hailstorm as harried ground-staff scampered for cover.

It continued to pour as pools of water spread across the field. The match was called off shortly before 10:30 p.m. local time as Sri Lanka rejoiced.

The start of the West Indies innings had not been ideal. Chris Gayle ambled to three off 13 balls, before edging Lasith Malinga onto the stumps.

Dwayne Smith was then flummoxed by a slower delivery from the same bowler for 17. Seekkuge Prasanna, playing his first match of the tournament, then trapped Lendl Simmons leg before with his opening delivery to leave West Indies stumbling on 34 for three in 7.1 overs.

Sri Lanka’s ground fielding was inspired on the night, and its bowlers sent down a sequence of taut overs as the run rate plummeted. Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels attempted to give the innings a fillip, taking 11 runs off Rangana Herath in the 13th over.

Bravo perished in the effort for 30 (19b), and in walked Darren Sammy, when the heavens opened up.

West Indies still needed 81 off 37 balls at that point and Sammy would have fancied his chances of giving it a good whack, but the elements would not have it.

Earlier, Sri Lanka’s openers embarked on their innings as if they had a train to catch.

Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan were unafraid to step down the pitch to Samuel Badree; both batsmen hit him for sixes.

Perera was happy to swing through the line, striking Krishmar Santokie – at his pace, cannon fodder if inaccurate – over the ropes.

Sri Lanka sped to 41 even before four overs had been completed.

West Indian fears that this could turn into a rout were allayed when Perera dragged Santokie onto his stumps for 26.

There was further relief when Mahela Jayawardene was run out two balls later, before even taking guard.

Dilshan knocked the ball into the offside and set off for a single; Sammy ran in from cover and hit the stumps.

When Kumar Sangakkara misread Badree’s googly to hand him the simplest of return catches, it left the batting side on 49 for three.

It told on the run rate, Sri Lanka managing only 24 runs in six overs after the fall of the first wicket. Lahiru Thirimanne, retained in the side at the expense of the regular captain Dinesh Chandimal – who sat the last game out through suspension – sought to run repairs. The left-hander justified his inclusion with a 35-ball-44, just the sort of adhesive effort the team required.

A challenging total seemed some way off until Angelo Mathews arrived and played a hugely useful cameo, his 40 (23b) included two sixes.

Santokie was taken for 17 in the penultimate over and Andre Russell for 15 in the last. Sri Lanka grabbed 67 runs off the final six overs to finish with 160; the game would be truncated, but victory would not be denied.

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