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Jayasuriya, Dilshan smash Lanka to victory

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Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya and IPL star Tillakeratne Dilshan shared in a super quick opening partnership of 124, going at 10 runs per over to bat the West Indies out of the match in a dead rubber between two sides that had already booked their place in the Super 8 stage of the ICC T20 World Cup. The Sri Lankans made a massive 192 which the Windies made a valiant effort to chase down without their talismanic skipper Chris Gayle, finally falling just 17 short in their quest .

Denesh Ramdin who was deputing for an injured Chris Gayle (bruised knee thanks to a Mitchell Johnson delivery in the last match) won the toss and elected to field first. Tillakeratne Dilshan opened the innings with Jayasuriya and the duo just exploded form the word go. 39-year old Jayasuriya showed why he is still considered one of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket as he clobbered Fidel Edwards for two fours and a six in the 2nd over. The left hander then took Jerome Taylor for a maximum in the following over. Keiron Pollard was brought into the attack in the 6th over and his mediocre pace allowed Dilshan to free his arms and play some outrageous shots. The over went for 19 with three fours and a six as Lanka rallied onto 66-0 in six overs.

Bravo started out well after the powerplay overs giving away just 6 runs but then Edwards who was brought on for his second spell proved to be expensive once again. Jayasuriya slammed him for a six and three fours as the Lankans rocketed on to 105-0 in 10 overs. It was Dilshan's turn next to take on the bowlers as he dispatched Pollard for two hits to the fence. Lendl Simmons was given the ball out of desperation by Ramdin and the right arm medium pacer finally got the breakthrough. Jayasuriya was trapped leg before for 81 going for a reverse sweep. But there was no stopping Dilshan as he helped himself to three more fours off the next 8 balls. It was Simmons once again who got the second wicket in the person of Sangakkara caught at long-on for 5.

This brought Jayawardene to the centre but his presence was not felt with Dilshan doing the bulk of scoring. The right hander who is in the form of his life helped himself to a fifty and carried on as he hit Taylor for two more fours. Sri Lanka were 168-2 at the end of 17 overs and it was déjà vu all over again. Simmons was the man as he grabbed two wickets in the 18th over with both Jayawardene and Dilshan (74) getting out in the space of three balls. The Sri Lankan lower order managed 17 runs off the final two overs as the Lankans ended their essay at 192-5.

With Gayle not playing the onus was on Simmons and Fletcher to give their team a good start. Jayasuriya opened the bowling again in this match for Sri Lanka, and conceded just 3 runs in a first over that was right on the mark. Simmons' confidence was high after a good bowling performance and it showed in his batting too. After the second over went for 11 runs, thanks predominantly to 5 wides from Lasith Malinga, Simmons got stuck into Jayasuriya's second over, hitting the left-arm spinner for a couple of boundaries. However, in a big blow for the West Indies they lost man-in-form Andre Fletcher to Malinga just one delivery after he had smashed the fast bowler for a huge six over mid-wicket.

Udana came in to the attack to replace Jayasuriya, and the young left-arm seamer started poorly, conceding 15 off a 10 ball over which included 4 wides and 4 overthrows. Despite not performing any real fireworks out there in the middle, the West Indies had managed to match the Lankans in the first third of the innings, picking up 65 runs from the powerplay overs, losing just 1 wicket in the process.

However, the match spun dramatically in Sri Lanka's favour as Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis came in to bowl in tandem, and picked up 3 wickets in the space of 8 balls. Murali struck first as Simmons' breezy innings of 29 off 19 was brought to a premature end. Mendis then picked up Xavier Marshall for 14, followed by the big wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul for just 1, to knock the backbone out of the West Indies chase.

At 73 for 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwane Bravo came together in the middle and gave their side some hope, sharing in a partnership of 77 runs, with Bravo doing the bulk of the scoring. The allrounder helped himself to 51 from 38 balls, while Sarwan at the other end dropped anchor making sure his team lost no further wickets.

With the West Indies requiring an unlikely 43 from 16 balls, Malinga picked up the wicket of Bravo with a well disguised slower ball. Kieron Pollard joined Sarwan in the middle and threw his bat around, but ironically enough it was the former skipper Sarwan's inability to find the fence right through his innings of 28 from 26 that cost his team dear.

With 28 needed off the last over, the Windies fell 16 runs shy of their target, but did get some useful batting practice that should hold them in good stead going into the Super 8s.

Mini Scorecard:

Sri Lanka 192/5 (20 overs)
Jayasuriya 81                Simmons 4-19

West Indies 176/5 (20 overs)
Bravo 51                       Mendis 2-25

Photograph Courtesy: ICC

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