Sri Lanka 130-1 (Jayawardene 65no) beat
West Indies 129-5 (Samuels 50) by 9 wickets
ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight Group 1, Pallekele
Report by John Pennington
Sri Lanka went from one extreme to the other, following up their tight Super Over victory over New Zealand with a comprehensive nine-wicket thrashing of the West Indies to make it two Super Eight wins in a row in the ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Pallekele.
A majestic unbeaten 65 from Mahela Jayawardene underpinned a successful run chase having been set a modest target of 130.
Marlon Samuels top scored with 50 in 35 balls as the West Indies made 129 for five but an outstanding bowling performance from Sri Lanka nullified their big-hitting potential.
Chris Gayle was stifled to the degree that he made two in nine balls while opening partner Johnson Charles, who started slowly before accelerating brilliantly against England, simply made a slow start then got out having made 12 in 21, the first of two victims for Ajantha Mendis.
The ever-reliable Nuwan Kulasekara accounted for Gayle but from 16 for two, the West Indies mounted a recovery of sorts through Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, whose 40 in 34 balls included the same number of fours (4) and sixes (2) as Samuels' fourth T20I half-century.
They never truly broke the shackles, however, and a double strike from Jeevan Mendis to dismiss Bravo and then Kieron Pollard (1) heaped the pressure on Samuels. He managed to take the Caribbean side past three figures, departing in the final over when he was caught by Tillakaratne DIlshan off Angelo Mathews.
Andre Russell hit a valiant 19 not out in 14 balls but even at the halfway stage, it had the impression of being too little, too late.
Ajantha Mendis was the pick of the bowlers on a rare day when none of the six men used conceded more than eight runs per over. He took two for 12, namesake Jeevan returned one for 12, Kulasekara one for 28 and Mathews one for 31.
Although Lasith Malinga (0-26) and Rangana Herath (0-16) took no wickets they played their part in a disciplined effort in the field.
That effort was backed up by the batsmen, who took the West Indies bowlers apart, Dilshan the only man to fall when he was caught behind off Ravi Rampaul for nine in 13 in nine balls.
That was as good as it got for the West Indies and no matter who or what was bowled, Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara simply feasted during an unbroken 108-run partnership for the second wicket.
Jayawardene was unbeaten on 65 in 49 balls with 10 fours and a six while Sangakkara made 39 in 34 balls, allowing Jayawardene to take on the more aggressive role while himself hitting five fours and finishing strongly.
In contrast to the Sri Lankan bowlers, only Sunil Narine (0-23 from four overs) and Darren Sammy (0-28 from four) emerged with any credit. Fidel Edwards was hammered for 24 runs in 12 balls and Russell's only over disappeared for 11.
The result means that Sri Lanka are within touching distance of the semi-finals - given their net run-rate following this impressive win, it will take a dramatic turnaround and set of results to see them exit. They could still lose to England and qualify, should New Zealand upset the West Indies and a win will see them top the group.
Net run-rate could also come into play should the West Indies win their final game, particularly if England also win - which would leave three teams level on four points. A Sri Lanka win would help the West Indies given they have already beaten England, and a Sri Lanka win over England plus a West Indies win over New Zealand would put both sides through.
© Cricket World 2012
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