Sunday, March 20, 2016

World Cup T20 : West Indies vs Sri Lanka

Crucial match this, between the defending champions Sri Lanka & the mercurial West Indies - important for both to win & consolidate position the group. West Indies won the toss & elected to field.
Sri Lanka, lost in form Dilshan early on when he was looking good, to a rather bad decision of LBW, the ball clearly missing the leg stump. Chandimal & Thirimane had to construct a partnership from there on. but that was not to be as Chandimal ran himself out rather silly, reducing the total to 32 for 2 in the fifth over. Power plays ended with score at 41 for 2. But wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, & it was 54 for 5 in 10 overs, & Sri Lanka were staring into the barrel. It would take some hitting, & intelligent batting to put up a respectable total to defend. It all now mattered on how Mathews & Thisara Perera bat from here on....both capable of clearing boundaries at will. They did manage a decent partnership, getting, 44 runs off 45 deliveries, but in the larger interest of the game, not enough, as the Lankans slipped to 94 for 6, in 17 overs, with Mathews getting out to a rather high full toss from Bravo ...a suspect decision once again. However, Thisara kept the Lankans in the hunt, with some lusty blows, getting a well made 40 off 29 balls, as the innings folded at 122 for 9. An iffy total, short by 25-30 runs, but the bowlers have something to play for. without Malinga, it would be difficult for the Lankans to defend such a total, but they have Rangana Herath, who can be a handful, & the, Kulasekara & Mathews can chip in.

Windies started without Gayle, as Charles & Fletcher opened the innings, Gayle was out of fielding for a hamstring & hence not allowed to bat. The very first over got them 13 runs, as Herath came on from the other end, the key bowler. He too was clobbered for 10, as the Windies raced to 23 for no loss. However, by the 6th over, leg spinner, Vandersay had got Charles, to leave the score at 39 for 1. By the end of 10 overs, it was 56 for 2, the game evenly poised, though the Windies do look like pulling it off, as Fletcher was playing a beautiful innings at one end, going past his half century. Vandersay bowled beautifully with figures of 11 for 1 in four overs...awesome. The 15th over fetched 19 runs to get the Windies ahead, & then Fletcher gets a reprieve, as a possible caught behind is ruled not out by the third umpire. Good decision for sure, as clearly the ball had bounced before going into the keeper's gloves. In the end it was Fletcher & Russel who guided West Indies to a comfortable 7 wicket victory...Fletcher, wonderfully filling in the boots of Gayle, with a excellently paced 84 off 64 deliveries & Russell with a belligerent 20 off just 8 deliveries, finishing the match with a six.
The Windies do look a good unit....certainly my dark horse.
Man of the Match - of course Andre Fletcher.