Sri Lanka Beat West Indies To Reach Final!
Sri Lanka reached the World Twenty20 final after a thunderstorm ended the semi-final against defending champions West Indies in Mirpur.
Lahiru Thirimanne made 44 and Angelo Mathews 40 from 23 balls as Sri Lanka posted 160-6 after winning the toss. In reply, West Indies lost openers Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith to captain Lasith Malinga in the fifth over.
Dwayne Bravo fell for 30 and after hail flooded the outfield, Sri Lanka won by 27 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method. Sri Lanka will meet India or South Africa, who play in Mirpur on Friday, in the final at the same venue on Sunday.
Victory for Sri Lanka on Thursday went some way to atoning for their defeat by West Indies in the 2012 final. Twice runners-up, they now have a chance of capturing the World T20 for the first time and giving Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara the perfect send-off in their final games before T20 international retirement.
“We back ourselves chasing 160. We’ve done it before in the tournament and it was not an impossible task,” said West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
“We didn’t get a fair chance of defending the title. But I see that as the gods smiling on Mahela and Kumar. They’ve done so much for Sri Lankan cricket.”
Having won 10 of their last 12 T20s batting first, Sri Lanka made an impressive start with the bat, Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan striking spinner Samuel Badree over long-off for six as 32 came from the opening three overs.
However, Perera chopped on to Krishmar Santokie, the first of three wickets to fall for eight runs as Jayawardene was run out without facing a ball and Sangakkara offered Badree a tame return catch.
Dilshan was run out for 39 by a direct hit from Lendl Simmons after being sent back by Thirimanne, who, having cut seamer Andre Russell for six, was caught at backward point attempting a similar stroke.
Mathews struck three fours and two sixes to carry Sri Lanka to a competitive total, but Smith casually flicked the first two balls of the Windies reply from seamer Nuwan Kulasekara for a leg-side four and six.
However, Gayle, who had earlier left the field after being struck on the ankle, managed only three from 13 balls before playing on to Malinga, and another cutter accounted for Smith, bowled though the gate.
Bravo was superbly caught by Jayawardene diving forward at deep mid-wicket moments shortly before rain and hail arrived. Sammy, yet to face a ball, was left with no chance of playing another match-winning innings in a tournament in which he boasts a strike-rate of 224.
Malinga said: “Our bowlers did a great job in the first six overs – that’s why we were ahead.”