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

Sri Lanka thrive before the storm

  shares 29

Before the hail, lightning, gust and rain, it was Sri Lanka who were bossing it at the Shere Bangla National Stadium. Their fielding, bowling and decision-making pushed West Indies on the back foot for 13.5 overs of the chase.

Dinesh Chandimal's decision not to play in the semi-final can be seen as a defensive move, especially coming from the team's appointed captain himself. But it was daring of the man not to play, and let the winning combination stick. And it worked, with his replacement Lahiru Thirimanne hitting a crucial 44.

It was only fitting for Angelo Mathews, the only Sri Lanka player to have played all 17 games of a long stay in Bangladesh, to play a major role in taking them a stage they would have targeted when they landed in Bangladesh. And he was quick to praise Chandimal for stepping aside for the team's benefit, a rare occurrence but one that made complete sense.

"It was a collective decision," Mathews said. "The selectors, management and Chandimal [decided]. We have to do what is best for the team all the time, regardless of who you are. I think he opted out because he wanted the best XI on the park. So I think it was a great and brave decision."

For the second game running, Sri Lanka has showed the importance of bowling tight and backing it up with strong fielding. They have been doing it in Bangladesh since January 27, when they started their long sojourn in the country. They have been beaten the home side 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 in the Tests, T20s and ODIs respectively as well as winning the Asia Cup. But despite playing 17 matches so far, Sri Lanka's fielding standards have hardly dropped and they have looked even better at the fag end of a very long tour.

Mathews praised the effort of his team-mates as well as the coaching staff for the unflagging levels. "It is all the hard work that the boys do. I think they have been managed pretty well. When you play the intensity every other day, it takes a lot out of you. You need to manage yourself and still work really hard.

"Fitness, fielding and skills, we were consistent in the last couple of months in these areas. It will be ideal to win the title and go back home."

After Sri Lanka posted 160 for 6, Dwayne Smith began with a bang, caning Nuwan Kulasekara for 17 runs in the first over. On cue, Sri Lanka started to bowl better lengths, drying up the runs. By the time Chris Gayle was put out of his misery in the fifth over by Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka had put a foot on the door that had started to slam on them. Smith was gone in the same over, and from then on, the fielding came to the fore.

West Indies are generally not the most athletic side between the wickets, preferring to dealing more in big shots. So it was important that the boundaries were cut off, and it started with Tillakaratne Dilshan in the eighth over when he slid to save a boundary, and repeated it in the 10th over. Apart from these two, there were several other mini-stops and slides that cut off whatever the West Indies were trying to add.

Mathews said it was important to pick up wickets when they got wind, quite literally, of rain nearing Mirpur. It prompted Malinga to bowl more in the first six overs, instead of keeping most of his quota for the death.

"After the first half, we heard there might be bit of rain. We just had to keep them tight because they have some big hitters who can't be stopped if they got going.

"We had to take wickets to push them back. Lasith came to bowl in the first six overs which he doesn't do normally, but we needed our best bowler to come and take wickets"

Sri Lanka could have been expected to be tired against New Zealand in their last group game and in the semi-final, but they sprung up at the right time and look on the way to a perfect ending to their stay in Bangladesh.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | April 7, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    Lions are the Champions!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | April 5, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    If's and but's are immaterial. The hard fact is SL played marginally better cricket on the day and D/L or not they deserved to win.

  • POSTED BY SLANKA_FAN on | April 4, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    Three Cheers!!! for Dinesh Chandimal for opting out. This type of unselfish acts are very rare these days. Work hard and get back your form Son; Sri Lanka cricket need players of your caliber. Selectors please take note: you have a rare gem of a cricketer in Dinesh Chandimal; make sure he is in the first XI in all three formats of the game. CONGRATULATIONS to the Sri Lankan team for the outstanding performance and making it to the Finals.

  • POSTED BY Godfrey580 on | April 4, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    Comically bad were the wds of one commentator. Bowlers lost game for WI, were the wds of another. Crazy. WI lost the game because of the weather, period. 80 runs in 6.1 ovs. Samuels and Sammy at the wk and Russell et al to come. That was as even an odd as any with WI chasing. WI had done agst Ban Aus and Pak, spin and pace, so why not SrL. What was so special about SrL.

  • POSTED BY BinuSL12 on | April 4, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    The Weather God diminished the delight of getting the fitting result sans D/L tag SL deserved for their hard work. It is worth reminding how the same Weather God had a decisive hand in the RESULT of last t20 WC Final-2012. SL target was just 132 in 20 overs. In the 12th over they were 60 for 3 with MJ batting well, scoring 33 in 35 balls. They just needed 78 in 48 balls with 7 wickets in hand. Well within the target! Then came the DRIZZLE from nowhere in the 13th over, pressuring MJ to push the score up to meet the D/L par score at that stage. Then the sudden collapse started losing MJ, while trying a reverse pull against spin! This was followed by TWO sudden RUN OUTS, one in the same 13th over & the next in 14th over, while trying to push the score up, SKY-ROCKETTING the D/L par score! At the end of 14thOver, the Drizzle faded away, making SL 68/6 requiring 70 from 36 balls. SL never recovered from that collapse & another deserved chance for a WC title was GONE AWAY WITH THE DRIZZLE

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    2007 world cup aus vs sri lanka ( Aus Wins it ) , 2011 world cup india vs srlanka ( india take it all , then comes T20 pak vs Sl ( Pak T20 Champions , 2012 T20 Worldcup WI Vs SL ( This Time WI ) , four consecutive loss and yet the fifth time no way , this time SL must win for people cheering for them , for pakistani supporters for bangladeshi supporters for home boys ....SL 2014 T20 Champion .....pakistani fan

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Lot of credit to chandimal for opting out to allow thirmanne in.Well done,its a selfless approach on his part.

  • POSTED BY CricketpunditUSA on | April 4, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    Year of the Bridesmaids! SA vs SL in Finals. This is coming from an Indian fan. A SL Vs India final will be the most boring one. SA vs SL will be worth watching.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | April 4, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Irishhawks. You have no idea what's coming your way. Every captain knows and has acknowledged the fact that the team that plays the better cricket on the day will walk out as winners. So don't jump the gun yet.

  • POSTED BY izzidole on | April 4, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    Sri Lanka is lucky to have won the toss and batted first not aware that play would come to an abrupt end. Had the West Indies won the toss and batted first they may have won the game. Everyone was taken by surprise when suddenly the heavens opened and the severe storm and hail brought an early finish to the match when the Windies were about to unwind with some lusty blows as in their preious encounters. Gayle and Samuels should take the blame for the loss due to their slow approach after a tremendous start to the innings by Smith. In comparison to Group A where India and South Africa two super powers of test cricket battle it out for a place in the finals this was a good opportunity for minnows of test cricket both West Indies and Sri Lanka to gain some recognition in a totally different format with a consolation prize.

  • POSTED BY on | April 7, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    Lions are the Champions!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | April 5, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    If's and but's are immaterial. The hard fact is SL played marginally better cricket on the day and D/L or not they deserved to win.

  • POSTED BY SLANKA_FAN on | April 4, 2014, 18:01 GMT

    Three Cheers!!! for Dinesh Chandimal for opting out. This type of unselfish acts are very rare these days. Work hard and get back your form Son; Sri Lanka cricket need players of your caliber. Selectors please take note: you have a rare gem of a cricketer in Dinesh Chandimal; make sure he is in the first XI in all three formats of the game. CONGRATULATIONS to the Sri Lankan team for the outstanding performance and making it to the Finals.

  • POSTED BY Godfrey580 on | April 4, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    Comically bad were the wds of one commentator. Bowlers lost game for WI, were the wds of another. Crazy. WI lost the game because of the weather, period. 80 runs in 6.1 ovs. Samuels and Sammy at the wk and Russell et al to come. That was as even an odd as any with WI chasing. WI had done agst Ban Aus and Pak, spin and pace, so why not SrL. What was so special about SrL.

  • POSTED BY BinuSL12 on | April 4, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    The Weather God diminished the delight of getting the fitting result sans D/L tag SL deserved for their hard work. It is worth reminding how the same Weather God had a decisive hand in the RESULT of last t20 WC Final-2012. SL target was just 132 in 20 overs. In the 12th over they were 60 for 3 with MJ batting well, scoring 33 in 35 balls. They just needed 78 in 48 balls with 7 wickets in hand. Well within the target! Then came the DRIZZLE from nowhere in the 13th over, pressuring MJ to push the score up to meet the D/L par score at that stage. Then the sudden collapse started losing MJ, while trying a reverse pull against spin! This was followed by TWO sudden RUN OUTS, one in the same 13th over & the next in 14th over, while trying to push the score up, SKY-ROCKETTING the D/L par score! At the end of 14thOver, the Drizzle faded away, making SL 68/6 requiring 70 from 36 balls. SL never recovered from that collapse & another deserved chance for a WC title was GONE AWAY WITH THE DRIZZLE

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    2007 world cup aus vs sri lanka ( Aus Wins it ) , 2011 world cup india vs srlanka ( india take it all , then comes T20 pak vs Sl ( Pak T20 Champions , 2012 T20 Worldcup WI Vs SL ( This Time WI ) , four consecutive loss and yet the fifth time no way , this time SL must win for people cheering for them , for pakistani supporters for bangladeshi supporters for home boys ....SL 2014 T20 Champion .....pakistani fan

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    Lot of credit to chandimal for opting out to allow thirmanne in.Well done,its a selfless approach on his part.

  • POSTED BY CricketpunditUSA on | April 4, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    Year of the Bridesmaids! SA vs SL in Finals. This is coming from an Indian fan. A SL Vs India final will be the most boring one. SA vs SL will be worth watching.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | April 4, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Irishhawks. You have no idea what's coming your way. Every captain knows and has acknowledged the fact that the team that plays the better cricket on the day will walk out as winners. So don't jump the gun yet.

  • POSTED BY izzidole on | April 4, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    Sri Lanka is lucky to have won the toss and batted first not aware that play would come to an abrupt end. Had the West Indies won the toss and batted first they may have won the game. Everyone was taken by surprise when suddenly the heavens opened and the severe storm and hail brought an early finish to the match when the Windies were about to unwind with some lusty blows as in their preious encounters. Gayle and Samuels should take the blame for the loss due to their slow approach after a tremendous start to the innings by Smith. In comparison to Group A where India and South Africa two super powers of test cricket battle it out for a place in the finals this was a good opportunity for minnows of test cricket both West Indies and Sri Lanka to gain some recognition in a totally different format with a consolation prize.

  • POSTED BY ms2000 on | April 4, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    Most of all what impressed me so mcuch was to see Malinga in real serious play. He is a worthy Captain. THE SLC should retain him as the Capiatin for T20 no mater what the outcome of the Final. Malinga has proved in every way that he is a beter Captain than Chandimal. Finally we found the right person to captain the T20. Good Luck Malli

  • POSTED BY irishhawks on | April 4, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    As an Indian Cricket fan I am disappointed that we are going to see Sri lankans once again...Though our record is superior to them in every version of the game..But still no cricket fan in India wants Ind vs Sl match...It seems like two domestic teams are playing the match...Malinga, herath and mendis are bread and butter for Indian batsman..They can play them while sleeping almost! Infact it were GAmbhir and Sehwag who launched such a counter attack on Mendis In sri lanka in 2008 that since then He is not even half of bowler he used to be..And Malinga may bowl yorkers to others at will but Indian Batsmen stand deep in crease and whack him all over the park!! Another Indian win..Another Srilankan final lost

  • POSTED BY android_user on | April 4, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    India must come to the final & Sri Lanka should win it.

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    As a SL supporter we wanted to watch a complete match, which could have been very interesting. Opening assault of Kusal and final assault of Angelo were the highlights of the match. Beauty of cricket..

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | April 4, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    Sri Lanka look like the team most likely to win this tournament. How Malinga is used is the key. If SA enter the final, Sri Lanka's win is almost assured. If India are the opponents, SL need to take care of India's batting. Still in the current form SL has a good chance. Last chance for SL for a while to win a global tournament- next time a world cup is played, they may have to play without Mahela, Sangakkara, Malinga and Dilshan. The new comers are far from replacing these guys and it will be a while before SL is a serious contender again.

  • POSTED BY Lionkid25 on | April 4, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    My only concern is Sanga with the bat. I very much like him as an ODI and Test batsman. In fact he is the most elegant and stylish batsman in that form. But unfortunately he is utterly out of form with the bat in T20s. I know he is a superb wicket keeper, but at the moment sending him at No 3 is a waste. He should be relegated to lower middle order, but I know very unlikely for that to happen as this will be his final T20 inning. He scored only 19 runs in 5 innings at a very poultry average of 4.75 runs with the highest score of 14 runs. This is hardly a number 3 batsman's stats. I know he has a good cricketing brain as well, he should be in the team, but as a lower order batsman. I hope and pray he will prove me wrong in the Finals. GO Sri Lanka...bring the cup home...

  • POSTED BY vallavarayar on | April 4, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Sammy had it coming. He was way too naughty with his pronouncements in the tournament.

  • POSTED BY Crazy4cricket40 on | April 4, 2014, 4:15 GMT

    Hats off to the Chandimal for his brave ad selfless decission. Hope Hafeez and some selfish cricketers in pak team learn something from this. (just trying to keep their place in the team without thinking about country). Hafeez needs play the exact role what Mathews is plying for SL by coming at that number. Congrats to SL from Pak fan

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    Like Sammy was saying SL was thinking of the 2012 final game, only deference is , they were thinking of 'pay back'.

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    Beautiful! Just amazing display of character! Well done Sri Lanka!!

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 1:30 GMT

    Time for others to say that SA will thrash india

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    What an all round performance. From a situation where both MJ and Sanga had failed, to re-build their inning with Thiri and company, The Anji we used to see in the 2011 WC joining the party at the end and the Lions posted a challenging 160. In my view it was a teasing score where it was not too much to get either. A batting side chasing 190+ has nothing to lose, just go for it but when you are chasing 160 - its a calculated chase. And we leaked 17 in the 1st over and showed everyone else how to close the tap by conceding some 30 odd runs in the power play and the screws were tightened ever since. Anyway the mighty windies were strangled though we didn't mind some immortal help as the heavens opened.

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    Well deserve win, good luck srilanka you can win the final and bring the World cup T20 to our motherland.

  • POSTED BY S305 on | April 4, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Hats off to Dinesh Chamdimal for stepping down after realizing that he was out of form. This is the real Sri Lankan spirit: play as one: it doesn't matter who plays, lets bring the cup home. Chandimal has a long career ahead of him, and this selfless act will earn him accolades from sports fans across the world.

  • POSTED BY on | April 3, 2014, 23:30 GMT

    Sri Lanka has the best chance of winning the final . Best wishes !

  • POSTED BY Paindu_Cant_Bat on | April 3, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    Congratulations to Sri Lanka they deserve it. This is a very balanced Sri Lankan side in my opinion they are the serious contender for the 2014 T20 World Cup. Way to go Sri Lanka...

  • POSTED BY on | April 3, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Congratulations for our team for the professional approach to this game. My thanks specially goes to Chandimal who opted out to bring Thirimanne in.

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | April 3, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    Superb performance by the whole team under the guidance of the senior pros. The young brigade has put up the hand & taken the challenge strongly. Credit to Chandimal & of course the collective management team who took the brave decision to stick with inform Lahiru. Sri Lanka dazzled in all the three departments ,batting bowling & fielding.

  • POSTED BY jerryman on | April 3, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    Well played SL lions. Not fair to the WI to win in a D/L situation . They have themselves to blame due to the number of dot balls . However Thiri & Matthews batted well and Kusal's onslaught at the top with Dilshan helped. Matthews is a good finisher and all in all I think SL played their best x1 today. Sanga certainly not in his silken touch , but the years they have put into SL cricket deserve them to play. Hoping SL can win the final and it will be a fitting tribute to these senior stalwarts . The icing on the cake . Good luck in the finals ..

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  • POSTED BY jerryman on | April 3, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    Well played SL lions. Not fair to the WI to win in a D/L situation . They have themselves to blame due to the number of dot balls . However Thiri & Matthews batted well and Kusal's onslaught at the top with Dilshan helped. Matthews is a good finisher and all in all I think SL played their best x1 today. Sanga certainly not in his silken touch , but the years they have put into SL cricket deserve them to play. Hoping SL can win the final and it will be a fitting tribute to these senior stalwarts . The icing on the cake . Good luck in the finals ..

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | April 3, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    Superb performance by the whole team under the guidance of the senior pros. The young brigade has put up the hand & taken the challenge strongly. Credit to Chandimal & of course the collective management team who took the brave decision to stick with inform Lahiru. Sri Lanka dazzled in all the three departments ,batting bowling & fielding.

  • POSTED BY on | April 3, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    Congratulations for our team for the professional approach to this game. My thanks specially goes to Chandimal who opted out to bring Thirimanne in.

  • POSTED BY Paindu_Cant_Bat on | April 3, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    Congratulations to Sri Lanka they deserve it. This is a very balanced Sri Lankan side in my opinion they are the serious contender for the 2014 T20 World Cup. Way to go Sri Lanka...

  • POSTED BY on | April 3, 2014, 23:30 GMT

    Sri Lanka has the best chance of winning the final . Best wishes !

  • POSTED BY S305 on | April 4, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Hats off to Dinesh Chamdimal for stepping down after realizing that he was out of form. This is the real Sri Lankan spirit: play as one: it doesn't matter who plays, lets bring the cup home. Chandimal has a long career ahead of him, and this selfless act will earn him accolades from sports fans across the world.

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    Well deserve win, good luck srilanka you can win the final and bring the World cup T20 to our motherland.

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    What an all round performance. From a situation where both MJ and Sanga had failed, to re-build their inning with Thiri and company, The Anji we used to see in the 2011 WC joining the party at the end and the Lions posted a challenging 160. In my view it was a teasing score where it was not too much to get either. A batting side chasing 190+ has nothing to lose, just go for it but when you are chasing 160 - its a calculated chase. And we leaked 17 in the 1st over and showed everyone else how to close the tap by conceding some 30 odd runs in the power play and the screws were tightened ever since. Anyway the mighty windies were strangled though we didn't mind some immortal help as the heavens opened.

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 1:30 GMT

    Time for others to say that SA will thrash india

  • POSTED BY on | April 4, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    Beautiful! Just amazing display of character! Well done Sri Lanka!!