Sri Lanka Book Another Final Spot; Holders Out

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)

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.

(ESPN)

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