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By Abhijit Banare
Apr 3, 2014
After an intensely fought contest, it was the rain which had the eventual say in the result as Sri Lanka sailed in to the final of the ICC World T20 2014 with a 27-run win over West Indies via Duckworth Lewis method. Chasing 161 to win, storm and slight drizzle halted play. No sooner had the players and umpires walked off, the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour and there were hailstorms everywhere. This is Sri Lanka’s consecutive appearance in the World T20 final. Last time around they had lost to the same opposition in the final.
The first innings saw frequent shift in momentum but in the second, it was all Sri Lankan domination except for the first over. Dwayne Smith started off the chase in promising fashion hammering a six and a boundary. An erratic Nuwan Kulasekara further assisted the batsmen with his wayward deliveries. 17 came of the first. Skipper Lasith Malinga replaced Kulasekara and bowled a tidy first over. Chris Gayle has been unusually circumspect at the start and it was no different here.
It’s common of Gayle to be cautious and then unleash his shots after settling in, but this approach of going in to a shell had started to hurt West Indies. And in a semi-final, the pressure only multiplied when he was bowled by Malinga off a bottom edge. But the in-form Smith was still going strong until he was beaten by a slower delivery which came back in to him and saw his stumps disturbed.
More than the wickets, it was the sudden dip in run-rate that hurt the West Indies more as they fell short by D/L method. Since the 17-run first over, they managed 17 in the next six overs which describes the rusty approach against the spinners. With Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels, it was time to pick tup the pace when debutant Seekuge Prasanna foxed Simmons getting him out leg-before for four. The momentum briefly shifted when Dwayne Bravo went after the bowlers in quicktime to keep a check on the required rate which had soared to 12 by then. The pressure was always on the Windies to catch up and Bravo had done well to counter-attack Rangana Herath in the 13th over with a six and four. But that was it as he was caught brilliantly by Mahela Jayawardene off Kulasekara’s bowling for an 18-ball 30 which included three boundaries and a six.
Sri Lanka had walked in to the second innings on a high after late blitz from Angelo Mathews which had powered them to 160. With the quality of their bowling, even on a batting-friendly pitch, the target would be stiff. Samuels, after the first innings felt that the total was competitive and he was confident with the wicket not as threatening as it has been in the past few matches.
Mathews’s 40 from 23 balls was preceded by some handy contributions from rest of the batsmen. The two senior pros, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene failed to make an impact. Jayawardene was run-out for a duck without even facing a ball. But a 35-ball 44 from Lahiru Thirimanne and run-a-ball 39 from Tillakaratne Dilshan steadied the innings after quick loss of wickets.
It’s not the semi-final which Lanka has been afraid of but the finals. This is their third appearance in the five editions of World T20 final and they have lost in both their previous finals to Pakistan and West Indies respectively.
Sri Lanka 160 for 6 in 20 overs (Kusal Perera 26, Tillakaratne Dilshan 39, Lahiru Thirimanne 44, Angelo Mathews 40; Krishmar Santokie 2 for 46, Samuel Badree 1 for 23) beat West Indies 80 for 4 in 13.5 overs (Dwayne Bravo 30; Lasith Malinga 2 for 5) by 27 runs via D/L method.
Man of the Match: Angelo Mathews
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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