Let down by sloppy fielding and catching, Windies was never in the hunt
Bridgetown (Barbados): The giant scoreboard flashed ‘70 runs needed off six balls.' It was a no-contest at Kensington Park.
Let down by sloppy fielding and catching, West Indies was never in the hunt as it chased a demanding 196. The host finished 57 runs short of the Sri Lankan total in this Group ‘F' Super Eights match of the ICC World Twenty20 on Friday.
Sri Lanka held all the aces once Man of the Match Mahela Jayawardene (98 not out off 56 balls) and skipper Kumar Sangakkara (68 off 49) put on 166 for the second wicket — the highest partnership for any wicket in the competetion.
Then Sri Lanka, led well by Sangakkara, tightened the noose. The pacemen struck early and spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis gave little away even as they exploited the bounce in the surface. Fiery slinger Lasith Malinga was on target with his yorkers in the end overs.
The West Indies required the explosive Chris Gayle to launch into the bowling but he departed early, picked up at cover after getting a leading edge while attempting to work paceman Nuwan Kulasekara.
Dwayne Bravo (23) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (28) could not force the pace against the varied attack and the asking rate climbed.
Much hinged on Kieron Pollard but when the big hitter was pouched at long-on off Mendis, the West Indies had lost its last hope. Earlier, Jayawardene rode on his skills to torment the West Indian attack after Sri Lanka opted to bat. He has slick hands and light feet.
And he makes it difficult for the bowlers to stick to their game-plan against him. Jayawardene uses the depth of the crease to convert the length, uses its width to create room for the expansive drives and dances down to take the ball on the half-volley. The strike over long-on off Taylor reflected Jayawardene's lovely swing of the willow and timing.
When paceman Dwayne Bravo faulted in length, he was quick to employ the cut. And Jayawardene harried left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn with deft footwork and soft hands.
Jayawardene and Sangakkara, an experienced right-left combination, gained control after Sanath Jayasuriya perished to a short-pitched delivery from the pacey Kemar Roach.
The West Indies, in fact, could have sent back Sangakkara before the Sri Lankan opened his account. Gayle, diving to his left at slip, grassed an opportunity after Sangakkara edged a short-pitched ball from the unlucky Taylor outside off.
Like Jayawardene, Sangakkara cashed in. The left-hander is a fine exponent of the horizontal bat shots and excelled with his cuts and pulls. And like Jayawardene, Sangakkara is exceptional with his footwork.
He waltzed down the track to strike Bravo for a sweet six over long-off. It was a forgettable day on the park for the home team. On the flip side for Sri Lanka, Muralitharan suffered a recurrence of his groin injury and is in doubt for the rest of the tournament.
He had declared himself fit before the match and then sent down four tidy overs but complained of pain later.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (not out) 98 (56b, 9x4, 4x6), Sanath Jayasuriya c Taylor b Roach 6 (10b, 1x4), Kumar Sangakkara c Pollard b Bravo 68 (49b, 5x4, 3x6), Chamara Kapugedera b Roach 6 (4b, 1x4), Thillakaratne Dilshan (not out) 4 (1b, 1x4), Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-11) 13; Total (for three wkts in 20 overs) 195.
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-173, 3-191.
West Indies bowling: Roach 4-0-27-2, Taylor 3-0-28-0, Bravo 3-0-36-1, Benn 4-0-41-0, Sammy 2-0-23-0, Pollard 4-0-38-0.
West Indies: Chris Gayle c Mathews b Kulasekara 5 (4b, 1x4), Shivnarine Chanderpaul c Kapugedera b Mathews 11 (9b, 1x4, 1x6), Ramnaresh Sarwan c & b Mendis 28 (33b, 2x4), Dwayne Bravo c Mathews b Malinga 23 (23b, 3x4), Andre Fletcher b Malinga 16 (18b, 2x4), Keiron Pollard c Kapugedera b Mendis 9 (10b, 1x4), Darren Sammy lbw b Malinga 2 (3b), Wavell Hinds lbw b Mendis 5 (7b, 1x4), Jerome Taylor (not out) 16 (9b, 2x4), Sulieman Benn (not out) 6 (4b, 1x4), Extras (lb-7, w-10) 17; Total (for eight wkts in 20 overs) 138.
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-23, 3-76, 4-82, 5-99, 6-110, 7-116, 8-122.
Sri Lanka bowling: Kulasekara 4-0-27-1, Mathews 2-0-13-1, Mendis 4-0-24-3, Perera 2-0-13-0, Muralitharan 4-0-26-0, Malinga 4-0-28-3.