West Indies eye tri-series final berth with win over Sri Lanka

West Indies are on top in the points table with nine points, while Sri Lanka are tied with India at five points each © AFP

Port of Spain: Jul 6, 2013
The tri-series thrown wide open by India’s emphatic comeback, the West Indies and Sri Lanka will lock horns at Port of Spain on Sunday in their crucial last league match with the hosts needing to win the game to secure a berth in the final.

The Caribbean side’s two-match winning streak ended with India handing it a 102-run thrashing in a run-truncated match.

The result kept India alive even though Virat Kohli‘s men had lost both their previous matches of the series and denied the West Indies a smooth passage to the final.

The Caribbeans, however, are still on top in the table with nine points, while the Lankans are tied with India at five points each.

Dwayne Bravo‘s men will have to regroup quickly against Angelo Mathews’ side, which is flying high after demolishing India in its previous game.

But the West Indies can draw confidence from their earlier game against Sri Lanka which the hosts won comfortably.

The West Indies, which seemed like an on-a-roll side, was brought back to the ground rather brutally on Friday. At first their bowlers were hammered by a rampaging Kohli and later their batsmen had no answer to the questions that a disciplined Indian attack posed.

The over-reliance on Chris Gayle‘s pyrotechnics also stood out as no Caribbean batsman showed the stomach for a fight after his early departure.

Johnson Charles was the only one to give a decent account of himself with a 39-ball 45 but he was also guilty of letting slip a good start.

The Sri Lankan batting, on the other hand, was the most decisive factor in their win against India.
Upul Tharanga played a magical knock of 174, which included 19 fours and three sixes. Even if he does not replicate that effort, anything similar would be just enough for the islanders.

Add to this Mahela Jayawardene, who got into the groove with a hundred, skipper Angelo Mathews and Kumar Sangakkara and the Lankan batting order looks formidable from top to middle.

On the bowling front, the Caribbean pace attack would certainly revel in home conditions but they did crumble when faced with an Indian line-up which was willing to wait and apply itself before going for big shots.

Nevertheless, Kemar Roach and Tino Best would pose a challenge and some magic is also awaited from the spin ace Sunil Narine, if he recovers from a finger injury to take the field on the morrow.

The Lankan bowlers bowled magnificently against India and they would be aiming to continue the good work but a Lasith Malinga special is still to be seen in the series.