World Cup 2019: Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 23 runs.
Chester-Le-Street: Nichols Pooran fought brilliantly with a century but Sri Lanka held their nerve to beat West Indies by 23 runs in Match 39 of the ICC World Cup 2019, at Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street on Monday.
Both teams came into the match aware they could not reach the semi-finals but the Caribbean side came close to pulling off the highest successful chase in World Cup history.
Sri Lanka batted brightly to post an imposing total of 338 for six in their 50 overs, thanks largely to Avishka Fernando’s first one-day international century.
Defending the Sri Lankan total, Lasith Malinga, who has also been the pick of the bowlers, got Sri Lanka their first breakthrough by removing West Indies opener Sunil Ambris (5) to get his 53rd World Cup wicket. Malinga struck again to get rid of Shai Hope (5) to leave West Indies reeling at 22.2 in 4.6 overs.
West Indies had their hopes rested on their big-hitter Chris Gayle after losing two quick wickets. Gayle was dropped in the 7th over of the second innings when he tried to dig out a Malinga yorker while Kusal Mendis dropped a sitter to give a lifeline to Shirmon Hetmyer.
However, the two batsmen could not capitalize on their gifted chances. Kasun Rajitha picked Chirs Gayle for 35 whereas, Hetmyer scored 37 balls before getting run out by a direct hit from Dhananjaya de Silva.
When Carlos Brathwaite was the sixth West Indies wicket to fall, run out at the non-striker’s end by the slightest of deflections, 140 runs were still needed.
Allen reached his half-century from just 30 balls to add 83 inside 10 overs with Pooran – but he refused his partner’s call for a single and was run out with 57 required from 35 balls.
Sri Lanka’s pace spearhead Malinga, who earlier had two catches dropped off his bowling in one over, then saw Pooran offer a straightforward chance to long-off on 108, but substitute fielder Thisara Perera misjudged it horrendously and it went for four.
However, former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was introduced for his first bowl of the tournament and his opening delivery – an inviting ball wide of off stump – was edged to the keeper by Pooran.
Kushal Mendis and Fernando then took Sri Lanka close to 200 before a remarkable caught-and-bowl effort by left-arm spinner Fabian Allen, in the 32nd over, ended the former’s stay.
Mathews came up with an enterprising 20-ball 26 before a perfect yorker by Holder sent him back in the 40th over.
Fernando and Thirimanne then joined hands to help Sri Lanka cross the 300-mark.
Fernando completed his hundred in the 48th over with a couple of runs off Carlos Brathwaite but soon holed out to Allen off Cottrell’s bowling.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 338/6 in 50 overs (Avishka Fernando 104, Kusal Perera 64; Jason Holder 2-59, Oshane Thomas 1-58) beat West Indies 315/9 in 50 overs (Nicholas Pooran 118, Fabien Allen 51; Lasith Malinga 3-55, Angelo Mathews 1-6) by 23 runs