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Sri Lanka crush West Indies by 9 wickets to edge closer to World T20 Semi-finals

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jayawardeneSri Lanka picked up an excellent 9 wicket win against the West Indies on Saturday night, racing to their target of 130 with nearly 5 overs to spare to all but guarantee themselves a berth in the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 on home soil. An excellent bowling effort led by Ajantha Mendis restricted the Windies to just 129-5 in their 20 overs, despite an excellent half-century from Marlon Samuels. Sri Lanka had no trouble chasing down the target with Mahela Jayawardene scoring an unbeaten 65 to lead his side to victory.

The Windies made a poor start to the match, with the openers Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles taking their time to place themselves in. The decision backfired when both men fell within the space of three balls with Charles (12) being stumped off Ajantha Mendis, while Gayle (2) was out caught behind to a Nuwan Kulasekara slower ball.

Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo found themselves together with the scoreboard reading 16-2 in the 6th over with a massive recovery required. To their credit the duo stitched together a 65 run partnership that was dominated by Bravo, who made 40 from 34 balls before he was snaffled up by Jeevan Mendis.

Kieron Pollard failed to fire yet again, making just 1, but Andre Russell joined hands with Samuels to take the Windies forward. Samuels made yet another half-century, scoring an even 50 from 35 balls before falling in the last over, however, the late push that the Windies got wasn't enough to take them to a respectable score.

129 on a flat track was never going to be enough. And with Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards proving to be expensive, Sri Lanka coasted towards an easy win. Tillakaratne Dilshan raced to 13 from 9 balls before Rampaul dismissed him in the 3rd over, but that was the last piece of joy for the Windies in the field as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara (39*) put together an unbeaten 108 run stand for the 2nd wicket to stroll to victory.

Dangerman Sunil Narine was played out with the necessary caution, and there were runs aplenty to be had from the other end as there was no stopping the Lankans in full flow.

Sri Lanka will next face a rejuvenated England side in their final Group 1 game, and will know that as long as they don't suffer a heavy defeat, their semi-final spot is all but secure. A win for the Windies against New Zealand and one for England in their game against the Lankans could leave three teams locked on two wins apiece, and will make this group interesting. Alternatively, if Sri Lanka beat England and New Zealand beat West Indies, we could have three teams with 1 win and 2 defeats each, thus ensuring there is still plenty to play for, for all four sides heading into Monday's last round of games.


West Indies: Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath

Mini Scorecard:

West Indies 129-5 (20 overs, 6.45rpo)
M Samuels 50 (35) A Mendis 2-12
D Bravo 40 (34) J Mendis 1-12

Sri Lanka 130-1 (15.2 overs, 8.47rpo)
M Jayawardene 65* (49) R Rampaul 1-39
K Sangakkara 39* (34)

Sri Lanka win by 9 wickets with 28 balls to spare

File Photograph Copyright: ICC World T20