PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – A four-wicket haul by captain Angelo Matthews and a solid 90 from wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara steered Sri Lanka to a 39-run victory over West Indies in their rain-affected Celkon Mobile Cup ODI at Queens Park Oval yesterday.
The defeat ruined West Indies hopes of an automatic qualification for Thursday’s final as they must now await the outcome of the sixth match, between India and Sri Lanka, to determine the finalists.
With both West Indies and Sri Lanka on nine points, India will have to win their next match on Tuesday by either a bonus point or a good margin to deny West Indies a place in the final.
Requiring 230 for victory, under the Duckworth/Lewis system after Sri Lanka resumed their innings yesterday and scored 219 for 8, off 41 overs in an innings twice interrupted by rain, West Indies batsmen were strangled by good bowling by the Sri Lankans.
They picked up wickets at critical times and pulled off a win inspite of an aggressive 123-run fifth-wicket partnership between Lendl Simmons (67) and Darren Bravo (70).
Matthews, who had also given his team’s innings some momentum with 30 off 27 balls, returned to cripple the West Indies innings with four wickets for 29 runs off his eight overs. After Chris Gayle was sent back in the fifth over, with Matthews making the breakthrough with the score on 25, West Indies slipped to 31 for four by the ninth over before Bravo and Simmons attempted a rescue act.
They batted aggressively and gave the hometeam a semblance of hope, resisting the opposition for 21 overs, but once Simmons was caught off Eranga, with the score on 154 for five, and Bravo was seventh out, caught by Mendis for 70 off 84 balls, Sri Lanka took a tighter grip on the game.
When they departed, West Indies found the asking rate too much to challenge the Sri Lankans and with Darren Sammy and captain Keiron Pollard also going cheaply, pacers Kemar Roach and Tino Best managed an unfinished tenth-wicket stand as overs ran out.
When Sri Lanka continued their innings yesterday, on 60 for 3 after play was rained out on Sunday after 19 overs, veteran Sangakkara played a pivotal innings, slamming an unbeaten 90 off 95 balls, that pulled the game around for the Sri Lankans.
From a defensive position on Sunday, when they were struggling to fight off the West Indies pacers, wicketkeeper Sangakkara, who was named man-of-the-match, took the attack to the West Indies on an easier-paced pitch and led from the front as Sri Lanka added 159 off the last 22 overs.
That total proved to be enough as their bowlers then produced some disciplined spells that choked the opposition. For Sri Lanka, seamer Shaminda Eranga also took 3 for 46, while Kemar Roach also claimed four for 27 for West Indies.