Semis loom for Sri Lanka as Jayawardene oversees nine-wicket win over West Indies
17:19 GMT, 29 September 2012
Hosts Sri Lanka put one foot in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals with a nine-wicket trouncing of the West Indies at Pallekele.
A capacity and partisan crowd celebrated every run as captain Mahela Jayawardene (65no) oversaw a composed run chase after the Windies had made 129 for five.
Jayawardene always had things under control, in a 45-ball half-century containing eight fours, to ensure Sri Lanka completed their straightforward task with almost five overs to spare.
In control: Sri Lanka romped to an easy win thanks to some cool batting from Kumar Sangakkara (left) and Mahela Jayawardene
Sri Lanka v West Indies
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He shared an unbroken century stand
with Kumar Sangakkara and Sri Lanka therefore lead Super Eight Group E
as the only team with two wins to their name.
Marlon Samuels (50) and Dwayne Bravo
were largely responsible for the Windies mustering as many as they did
after Darren Sammy unsurprisingly chose to bat first on an awkward, used
Skilful seamer Nuwan Kulasekera
conceded only seven runs in his first three overs, but 21 to Samuels and
Andre Russell when he came back for his last.
Up in the air: Denesh Ramdin and Jayawardene look to the skies
Kulasekera was still in credit,
having picked up the key wicket of Chris Gayle when the West Indies'
dangerman edged behind as he chased an attempted cut at a wide ball.
Number three Samuels bided his time,
in a stand of 65 with Bravo, as Ajantha Mendis continued to make life
difficult and returned figures of two for 12 in favourable conditions
for his brand of slow bowling.
Samuels upped the ante in the later overs – apart from the penultimate, in which Lasith Malinga proved tough to get away – to complete a 34-ball half-century containing four fours and two sixes.
Strike bowler: Ajantha Mendis recorded figures of 12 for two
One of those maximums was a straight
one off Kulasekera which carried more than 100 metres to become the
biggest hit of the tournament so far.
But Samuels and his team must hope
they have more than that to celebrate when they return here on Monday,
to face New Zealand, in search of their second Super Eight victory – and
a shot after all at a place in the knockout stages in Colombo.