1st T20I Report: Thomas Five-For Powers West Indies to 25-Run Win vs Sri Lanka
Oshane Thomas celebrates after picking up a five-for vs Sri Lanka in 1st T20I©ICC Twitter

Fast bowler Oshane Thomas bowled a special spell to lead West Indies to their first win on the tour of Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Thomas wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka’s batting unit as he picked up a five-for (5/28) to hinder the hosts’ chase in the first T20I at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. Courtesy Thomas special, West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 25 runs to take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Earlier, opener Lendl Simmons played a brilliant hand of unbeaten 67 to propel West Indies to a stiff total of 196/4 in 20 overs.

Tasked with chasing a target of 197, Sri Lanka folded for 171 courtesy Thomas deadly spell in the Powerplay where he picked up all his five wickets. For his match-changing effort, he was declared ‘Player of the match’. Sri Lanka lost five wickets in what was a disastrous first five overs of the chase. Three of those were fell in the second over of the inning bowled by Thomas.

Thomas dismissed opener Avishka Fernando (7) and Shehan Jayasuriya (0) of the third and fourth ball. He missed out on a hat-trick but took the third off the last ball of the over as the in-form Kusal Mendis departed without troubling the scorers.

Despite the wickets, Kusal Perera had ensured the hosts kept up with the rate, finishing the Powerplay with 28 from 12 balls. Hasaranga was the man who finally provided him prolonged support, and the pair put on 87 runs for the sixth wicket. Perera was especially destructive, smashing 66 off 38 balls in an innings that included six fours and three sixes.

However, Rovman Powell got West Indies the breakthrough in the 16th over after which the visitors pounced upon the Sri Lankan tail.

Earlier, West Indies opener Simmons remained unbeaten on 67 off 51 balls as the visitors ended their innings on 196/4. Andre Russell played a belligerent knock of 35 off 14 balls studded with two fours and four sixes. Captain Kieron Pollard, playing his record 500th T20 game, also made a useful contribution of 34 off 15 balls.

Brief scores: West Indies 196/4 in 20 overs (Lendl Simmons 67, Andre Russell 35; Wanindu Hasaranga 1/33) vs Sri Lanka 171 in 19.1 overs (Kusal Perera 66, Wanindu Hasaranga 44; Oshane Thomas 5/28)