SL v WI, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Pallekele September 29, 2012

Varied, unorthodox Sri Lanka hammer West Indies


Sri Lanka 130 for 1 (Jayawardene 65*, Sangakkara 39*) beat West Indies 129 for 5 (Samuels 50, Bravo 40, A Mendis 2-12) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A delightfully unorthodox Sri Lankan attack working at close to its best handcuffed a power-packed West Indies line-up, conceding just 129 runs even though they took only five wickets in the 20 overs. The Sri Lankan top three made light work of the target, the lowest-ever challenge in Pallekele, taking a big step towards the semi-final courtesy of a hefty net run-rate bonus from the win with 28 balls to spare.

Between Ajantha Mendis' different bamboozlements, Nuwan Kulasekara's mix of inswingers and huge slower balls and Jeevan Mendis' skiddy legrollers, Lasith Malinga could afford to have an off half-day, even though he too came back with two superb overs in the end to stifle any ambitions West Indies might have had after the innings was rebuilt by half-centurion Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, who scored 40 off 34 balls.

Kulasekara got big man Chris Gayle out with a delivery about 25 kph slower than usual. Ajantha began with a wicket-maiden, toying around with Johnson Charles, and ended with one run and Kieron Pollard's wicket in the 16th over. Jeevan played his part in slowing down and eventually getting rid of Bravo, who looked threatening. Jeevan even managed to slip in a jig to match Gayle's celebrations.

Sri Lanka were on for this game from the moment Tillakaratne Dilshan dived at short point to keep the first ball of the match to a dot; their fielding hardly ever let up throughout the rest of the innings, except for a half-chance missed by Kumar Sangakkara. There was tension and anticipation around with the way West Indies had played out four quiet overs without the loss of a wicket. Usually one of two things happen at such times: either Gayle takes off or his team slips up after his wicket.

Mahela Jayawardene wanted the wickets. He brought on Ajantha in earnest and Charles had no clue which way it was turning, finally jumping out of the crease more in hope than anything. He was beaten by the googly, and stumped easily. Ajantha conceded only leg-byes in that over: take out his middle match and his figures in the tournament now read 5-3-8-7. In the next over Kulasekara produced the massive slower ball, Gayle waited and waited, but all he could manage was an edge, which Sangakkara accepted with a forward dive. With Gayle's first failure of the tournament, the celebrations suggested the match had been won.

Bravo and Marlon Samuels, though, were not to oblige that. Samuels, with his deft touches, and Bravo, with his power, rebuilt the innings with a partnership of 65 in 9.2 overs. The strike-rate may not have been great, but the approach made for good viewing. Bravo's extra-cover drives matched Samuels' late-cuts for aesthetics. They preferred the pace that Angelo Mathews and Malinga provided, but Jeevan put the brakes on, conceding just two in his first over, and getting Bravo to pull to long-on in the second.

Ajantha came back to finish off Pollard, but Andre Russell, the new man in, broke the maiden. He and Samuels took 21 off Kulasekara's comeback over, but Malinga pulled them back with a mix of yorkers and slower balls in the 19th. An underwhelming 10 runs came in the last two overs and Sri Lanka took all the momentum into the chase.

Dilshan got the chase off to a start similar to the one he had provided in the field. The first three balls he faced he smacked for fours. Fidel Edwards was the culprit providing him width. Replacing Samuel Badree who went for 20 in his quota in the last match, Edwards had gone for 12 off the first three balls. Ravi Rampaul followed it up with a superb over, removing Dilshan, but Jayawardene and Sangakkara were too good against an attack comprising three specialist bowlers and defending just 129.

The two showed respect to Sunil Narine, if only because they could afford to, taking just 23 off his four overs, but others weren't accorded such nicety. Sangakkara reached 1000 international runs along the way, and Jayawardene a seventh fifty. Once Narine was done, they launched an attack in a bid to increase the net run-rate. They did so without playing funky Twenty20 shots. The last 43 runs came off just 20 balls, and ticket to Colombo was all but booked.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Htc-Android on September 30, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    looks like Eng and Sl reach the semis. WI needs to pull of a big win against Nz. their net run rate has really gone down after this loss. nz are also not out of this league either. they need to beat WI and hope SL beats ENG.

  • Htc-Android on September 29, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    Narbavi,cool2cool,sobersfan. all went on vacation. they will finish their vacation when Sri lanka loses a game. its good, this page looks really nice without these fans. anyways good luck to india on tomorows game.

  • Dhutugemunu on September 29, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    Some lads were commenting couple of days ago, that the two WI's will win the battles between the Slingers (Malinga vs Edwards) and the Mystery bowlers (Mendis vs Narine). Not only that but also they expected WI to thrash SL. ha ha. // Malinga 4-0-26-0-6.50 Edwards 2-0-24-0-12.00 // Mendis 4-1-12-2-3.00 Narine 4-0-23-0-5.75 // WI 20 overs 129 for 5 (6.45) SL 15.2 overs 130 for 1 (8.47) // All won by Sri Lankans.

  • BRUTALANALYST on September 29, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    The middle order is not weak Samuels made 50 from 35 balls wit four 4's and 2 6's and Bravo 40 from 33 balls four 5's and 2 6's Russell also hit a good 19 from 14 the WEAKNESS has come from the none starts Charles and Gayles lack of runs and rotation W.I 20 from the opening Powerplay 6 overs is where the game was lost ! Why W.I are so slow to start is ridiculous when W.I have one of the longest batting orders full of power hitters today Sammy only faced 1 ball 5 wickets down at the end shows it's all about the pathetic start noting more nothing less Samuels and Bravo batted amazingly under huge pressure no1 can overlook that. W.I must win and hope England lose- England have the good draw with SL already threw and NZ wanting to take at least 1 victory b4 flying home

  • Aragoth on September 29, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    I was very disappointed with the way WI played and personally feel that Darren Sammy is no leader of men. I actually think that DS should be dropped altogether from the team, or at best he should fashion himself into a middle-order allrounder with a brain - something like Angelo Mathews, Lance Klaussner, Michael Bevan...that sort of a mould. A good coach who knows what he's doing may also help, also with a brain. Fidel Edwards is another rather idiotic cricketer, was he not watching when Nuwan K was bowling, and Malinga, and Mathews. It was 100% boys against men...and men with a lot of class at that! I feel Marlon Samuels should captain and also open the innings. He got a brain, and he can play the game. So too, Bravo who played a nice gutsy innings. Rampaul, Sammy and even Charles are rather mediocre. Even young Sunil although a fairly good spinner is no big mystery and Fidel Edwards needs to be thought temperament, and also some variation - one trick pony - short or nothing!

  • kobler on September 29, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Dear Sammy

    You have a team built to chase so please do so when winning the toss, that is the best chance you hance as the WI can not seem to pace the innings well when batting first unless playing against England

  • dummy4fb on September 29, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Ceylonese Cricketers are intelligent and well behaved. They are cool sportive and behave gentlemanly and I wish they take to politics after they retire from Cricket.

  • dummy4fb on September 29, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    well done sri lanka... i think man of d match shd b mendis...srilanka is now confirmed in semi final.. and nz is out...

  • FRRR on September 29, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    WI is over-rated. They will not pull off victory against good sides. SL look set to reach semi finals

  • P4K1ST4Ni on September 29, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    Well done Sri lanka........

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