Sri Lanka v West Indies, World T20, semi-final, Mirpur April 3, 2014

Sri Lanka book another final spot; holders out


Play 01:36
Hailstorm washes away West Indies hopes

Sri Lanka 160 for 6 (Thirimanne 44, Mathews 40) beat West Indies 80 for 4 (Bravo 30, Malinga 2-5) by 27 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies banked on a frenetic finish, but Sri Lanka's bowlers had choked the chase to suffocation-point before heavy rain, then marble-sized hail, cut the innings short and sent Sri Lanka to yet another major final. When the heavens opened, West Indies had needed 81 from 37 balls, with six wickets remaining. The Duckworth-Lewis calculation had them 27 runs adrift.

It was always a dangerous ploy to begin the chase slowly, but doubly so with rain in the air, and against an attack that features better death bowlers than most in the competition. West Indies had actually scored 17 from the first, wayward over from Nuwan Kulasekara, but as an unambitious Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels hunkered down, they mustered only 17 from the next six.

Sri Lanka's spinners were allowed to settle, and soon, even the expansive shots were being mistimed. Dwayne Bravo tonked 30 for 19, as messages from the dugout implored Samuels to shift into overdrive, but when Bravo fell in the 14th over, West Indies' chances grew desperately slim.

Darren Sammy, who has been the finisher of the tournament, was about to face his first ball when the weather intruded. Two Lasith Malinga overs remained, however, and the required rate may have been beyond even Sammy's rapid blade.

Only Tillakaratne Dilshan prospered out of Sri Lanka's senior batsmen, and even he scored only at a run-a-ball, running two batsmen out, including himself, in the process. Kusal Perera's bold 26 from 12 and Angelo Mathews' canny 40 from 23 gave the innings its flourishes, while Lahiru Thirimanne's 44 from 35 was its substance.

Perera had dealt powerfully to Krishmar Santokie through the leg side, to set Sri Lanka off at more than 10 an over in the first four, before Santokie had him playing on to a leg cutter. Mahela Jayawardene, so often Sri Lanka's big-game performer, was dismissed cruelly before he had had the chance to make an impact with the bat. Dilshan called him through after chopping one to point, but sharp work in the infield and a good throw over the stumps caught Jayawardene short, before he faced a ball. Kumar Sangakkara's demise for 1 from six balls was of his own making. He pushed out early against a slower Samuel Badree ball and lobbed a simple catch to the bowler.

Dilshan lacked fluency, as he has done throughout the tournament, but combined sagely with Thirimanne for 42 to lift Sri Lanka from 49 for 3. He would run himself out too, haring out of the crease when there was no run to be had, but Thirimanne completed the recovery, striking two sixes - including an uppercut over third man off Andre Russell. Thirimanne's innings was as secure as it was well-paced, setting the team up for a death-over spike, with wickets in the bank.

Mathews had been tentative against Sunil Narine early in his innings, often having his outside edge beaten as he prodded. But having been 13 from 14 balls, he gathered pace against Santokie in the penultimate over, to help deliver a furious finish worth 32 in the final two overs. Mathews slammed Santokie over long-on first ball, before collecting a four in the same spot.

Then, when West Indies strengthened the on side, he made room to loft a length ball over cover for four. A flat, fast six over cover next over was the shot of the innings, and a hooked four sent Sri Lanka to 160, before Mathews was athletically caught at deep midwicket by an advancing Bravo, last ball.

Dwayne Smith slogged a four then launched a six off the first two balls of the reply, but following that over, West Indies slowed almost to a stall - first by choice, then by coercion. Malinga arrived in the Powerplay and in his first over bowled Gayle, then Smith with offcutters, before Llendl Simmons was out lbw to Seekkuge Prasanna's first ball of the tournament. At 34 for 3 in the eighth over, West Indies had backed themselves into a mighty corner.

Bravo lashed out valiantly as Sri Lanka's slow-bowling phalanx sought to tamp the run rate down even further. He walloped Rangana Herath and Prasanna over cover, but with Samuels flatlining at the other end and Sri Lanka's fielders throwing themselves around to save boundaries, he could not quite spur a game-breaking charge. A Kulasekara slower ball had him caught at square leg as the required rate spiked over 12. When wild winds brought the downpour over the Sher-e-Bangla later in that over, Samuels was unbeaten on 18 from 29.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 7, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    Lions won the World Cup !! hats off to them!!!

  • Android on April 5, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    SpinKingKK: u gotta be kidding me.... SL has 3 veteran captains + 1 New captain[Matthews]..... so dhoni should look out this time.....

  • Miles on April 5, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    It won't be easy for India because we are talking about a highly experienced bowling attack and a superior fielding unit of SL here. SL batting do have the calculated hitting ability as India at this stage after Kusal came into the scene. Even Kulasekera is not a slogger during the power batting at the end. He is a calculated six launcher. I see more hunger in the SL squad than the Indians to win it. This time SLs will not be too generous like last times to donate the word cup title to the opposition for the for 5th time. For some reason I see more confidence, energy and charisma in the SL unit.

  • chamil on April 5, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    When i have seen this comments in here,99% Indian fans feed back was harassing to SL.specially they are never happy to see Sl beat India. Any way on this T20-2014 we know India play well.Sl also played & won their crucial games.for me as a real cricket fan & my vision is SL will get the cup on this competition.then I would like to see all of Indian fans eyes have tears end of the sunday night.go Sri Lanka go......God or who ever help to you as Sammy's feedback on last match,we know what you can do...100% I am sure SL go on time. best of luck both teams.

  • Dummy4 on April 5, 2014, 1:39 GMT

    Why cant they finish the game after rain? Why use DL in T20?

  • KISH on April 5, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    @Reza Sulaiman, you guys have a great record against the South Africans. So, one would think that it is always better off playing against a team you beat all the time. India, on the other hand, beats you guys most of the time - ordinary or not. Past performances by Dhoni, apart from Kohli, in the current team could still be worth remembering. I am only saying it because you said that the Indian team is ordinary. I can understand it as a psychological war if it comes from the Sri Lankan captain. But, as fans, there is no need to. Logically speaking, both teams are equal. Sri Lanka does have an edge in their fielding in the deep. But, it is slightly compensated if you take into account the experience of the Indian captain.

  • Dummy4 on April 5, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    When the Caribbean Premier League starts this year..the world will see how enjoying t20 is..we wait till the rain finished and bat for our lives even if it means midnight...we don't give up!...haha

  • Srikanth on April 4, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    @Don Roshan Dias, mate, there is a long waited revenge is due. We wanted india to get through and Kholi to play in the final and see what happens next!!!!!! lol...

  • VIJAY on April 4, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    @Reza Sulaiman..India won the semis in grand sad about your team that gone out of the tournament very much early...your statement resembles like, if you take out all 11 players, your team is we are going to win the 6th GLOBAL TITLE on sunday....keep watching

  • Android on April 4, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    SL must b scared now... The best final would be Ind vs Aus... but unlucky aus are out, it benefitted SL...