SL v WI, ICC World T20, 2nd semi-final, The Oval

The fourth M

Andrew Miller at The Oval

June 19, 2009

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Angelo Mathews celebrates his first wicket, Sri Lanka v West Indies, ICC World Twenty20, 2nd semi-final, The Oval, June 19, 2009
Angelo Mathews made his impressive with a memorable first over © Getty Images
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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.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tournament Results
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lord's - Jun 21, 2009
Pakistan won by 8 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)
Sri Lanka v West Indies at The Oval - Jun 19, 2009
Sri Lanka won by 57 runs
Pakistan v South Africa at Nottingham - Jun 18, 2009
Pakistan won by 7 runs
India v South Africa at Nottingham - Jun 16, 2009
South Africa won by 12 runs
New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Nottingham - Jun 16, 2009
Sri Lanka won by 48 runs
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days