|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
June 19, 2009
Innings of the day
It really speaks volumes for the quality of Tillakaratne Dilshan's performances that today's masterclass was arguably the most frill-free innings he has produced thus far in the tournament. The scoop shot barely needed to be unfurled - the closest he got was the over-the-shoulder dispatching of a Jerome Taylor full-toss - because his touch was so magisterial that regulation cricket shots were all he needed. West Indies fed him far too many full-tosses, but the glee with which he dispatched the lot revealed a cricketer whose stock has never been higher. By the time he had cracked 96 not out from 57 balls in a total of 158, he briefly held the record for the highest percentage of a team's runs in any Twenty20 international …
Over of the day
In the build-up to this contest, all the focus had been on the threat posed by Sri Lanka's three M's - Muralitharan, Mendis and Malinga, a trio of the most unorthodox cricketers imaginable. Nobody thought to mention the fourth M, Angelo Mathews, but today he was the destroyer, and the weapon he used was his normality. Facing line and length with a hint of assistance off the pitch, first Xavier Marshall, then Lendl Simmons and finally Dwayne Bravo all found differing methods to deflect the ball onto their stumps. Marshall and Bravo favoured the inside-edge, Simmons chose an assist from the thigh-guard. All Chris Gayle could do was stand at the far end and gawp - he might reflect that the single he took from the first ball of the run-chase was the most misjudged he'd ever taken in his life.
Defiance of the day
So much rested on the shoulders of Gayle. Not least after that devastating opening salvo. But he bore the burden with as much sang froid as he could he could muster - and that's saying something for a man quite as cool as he. For his first 15 deliveries, which spread deep into the fourth over, he was as stunned as his team-mates - so nearly playing on to Isuru Udana, and finding the boundary twice through thick edges. But by the end of a sorry performance from his team-mates, Gayle had carried his bat as the only man to reach double figures in the innings, and one of only two men to reach the boundary as well. And surpassed Dilshan's peculiar record to boot.
Stodge of the day
Sanath Jayasuriya might still have an innings up his sleeve for the final, but with a week to go until his 40th birthday, something undoubtedly wearied him today. His 24 from 34 balls was a fussy, fidgety, uncharacteristic affair, totally removed from his revolutionary style of yesteryear. He changed his bat on four or five occasions, seemingly incapable of finding one with a middle, and when he eventually fell in the 11th over, scooping limply to Jerome Taylor at short fine leg, he had faced 23 dot-balls from 37 deliveries. The rest of Sri Lanka's batsmen faced 27 from 83 between them. And Dilshan faced only 15.
Hiccup of the day
If Jayasuriya's departure was greeted with uncharacteristic relief by Sri Lanka's fans, then what followed immediately afterwards filled them with dismay. Kumar Sangakkara played out a solitary dot-ball before rifling his second delivery into the covers where he was superbly caught by Kieron Pollard on the point boundary. Then, in the very next over and with three singles and a wide added to the total, Mahela Jayawardene also fell, this time to a casual clip off the pads. Three wickets had tumbled for four runs in seven balls. Sri Lanka's engine-room had been disassembled with remarkable haste.
Commitment of the day
Every run counts in Twenty20, especially when Gayle's at the crease. And so Chamara Silva produced Sri Lanka's second stunning innovation in the outfield, to all but save a certain boundary. When these two teams met in the group stages at Trent Bridge, Angelo Mathews had rescued a six from Ramnaresh Sarwan by patting the ball back into play while leaping in mid-air. This time it was all about the groundwork as Silva slid round beneath the scoreboard, kicked out a boot as he crashed into the rope, then in a bunny-hop movement, slapped the ball with his fingertips as he threw himself back into play. A four was given in the end, but not through lack of effort.
Stand-in of the day
In consecutive innings at the top of West Indies' order, Andre Fletcher made a second-ball duck against India, a fifth-ball duck against South Africa, and a third-ball duck against England. Today, apparently, he didn't make the starting line-up. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to tell for sure. Apparently Marshall stood in as his replacement, but whoever it was, he came and went for a first-ball duck, bowled by Mathews to spark that manic first over. Thanks for coming.