West Indies’ defence of their World Twenty20 title ended disastrously yesterday after a furious rain and hail storm ruined their semi-final, handing Sri Lanka a 27-run victory under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Chasing 161 for victory for a place in the final, West Indies were struggling at 80 for four in the 14th over, when the fearsome weather system swept across the Shere Bangla Stadium, ending the contest prematurely.
With West Indies well short of their par score of 108, it meant that Sri Lanka qualified for Sunday’s final, and will now await the winner of today’s second semi-final between India and South Africa.
Once again, West Indies were let down by their top order who batted slowly and created enormous pressure, leaving the middle and lower order with a mountain to climb.
Dwayne Bravo dazzled briefly with 30 from 19 balls but the usually big-hitting Chris Gayle was bogged down, scoring just three from 13 balls while Lendl Simmons scored four.
The Caribbean side’s woes were highlighted by Marlon Samuels who spent a whopping 29 balls over a nervy, unbeaten 19 and with 81 runs required from 37 balls before the rains arrived, Sri Lanka were definitely in the driver’s seat.
Speedster Lasith Malinga was the best bowler with two for five from two overs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka rattled up 160 for six off 20 overs, after opting to bat first.
Lahiru Thirimanne top scored with 44 from 35 deliveries while Angelo Matthews slammed 40 from 23 balls, to give Sri Lanka momentum late in the innings.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan struck a run-a-ball 39 while his partner Kusal Perera scored 26 from 12 balls. Left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie finished with two for 46 but proved expensive, especially at the death.
In a rematch between the 2012 finalists, Sri Lanka started positively and raced to 41 for one after just four overs. Perera was the catalyst, punching two fours and two sixes, while Dilshan opted for caution, with two fours and a six.
Perera took 12 runs from Santokie’s opening over--the second of the innings--before joining Dilshan in clearing the ropes with leg-spinner Samuel Badree in the next over which went for 15 runs.
Three balls later, Perera clobbered Santokie over long on for the second of his sixes but had his cameo cut short when he played on to the same bowler off the last ball of the over, at 41 for one.
West Indies then got the precious wicket of Mahela Jayawardene, run out before he had faced a ball with no runs added in the fifth over and Kumar Sangakkara’s nightmare run continued when he chipped a catch back to Badree for one off six balls.
At 49 for three in the seventh, Dilshan and Thirimanne added 42 from 43 balls to repair the innings, as the Windies pulled things back. Off-spinner Sunil Narine’s four overs cost just 19 runs and part-time off-spinner Marlon Samuels’ four overs went for just 23 runs.
Dilshan departed in the 14th over and though Thirimanne, with three fours and two sixes, struck some lusty blows before falling to Santokie, Sri Lanka were still struggling at 128 for five at the end of the 18th over.
The last two overs, however, went for 32 runs as Matthews, with three fours and two sixes, battered Santokie and seamer Andre Russell.
In reply, Dwayne Smith got West Indies away well, with a four and a six off the first two deliveries from seamer Nuwan Kulasekara, in an over that cost 17 runs.
West Indies lost their way thereafter, losing both openers in the fifth over from Malinga. Gayle’s misery ended when he dragged on an innocuous delivery and Smith got a slower ball that nipped back and rattled his stumps.
When Simmons missed a cut at rookie leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna and was lbw at 34 for three in the eighth, the Windies were in strife.
Bravo arrived to inject life into the Windies innings, striking three fours and a cover-driven six off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, in an enterprising knock.
He looked poised for something special before Kulasekara had him caught by Jayawardene at deep square leg, whipping one off his hip at 77 for four.
Any hopes of another dramatic finish were quickly erased as the heavens opened.