Sri Lanka vs West Indies, Tri-Series
Bulawayo—Evin Lewis, with just a handful of internationals under his name, struck a counter-attacking maiden ODI century to give West Indies more than just a sniff in their attempt to gun down a 300-plus chase for the first time in ODIs. Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder then came up with sprightly cameos to take West Indies to within 24 of Sri Lanka’s 330 for 7. Then, in a mirror image of Saturday’s collapse that resulted in a tie, West Indies stumbled, this time to a one-run loss triggered by panic that resulted in poor shot selection.
That meant Sri Lanka were assured of a berth in Saturday’s final at Queens Sports Club in Bulwayo, while West Indies and Zimbabwe will play a virtual semi-final to seal the other spot.
West Indies were in control till until five overs of their chase. Carlos Brathwaite and Holder put together 45 before Nuwan Kulasekara delivered an inswinging yorker that beat Brathwaite and hit middle stump. Suranga Lakmal followed suit by bowling full and taking out Ashley Nurse in the next over. Suddenly, West Indies, cruising for most parts of the chase, needed 19 off 10 balls.
It boiled down to the final over, bowled by Nuwan Pradeep, with West Indies needing 10. Two dot balls and a single later, Sulieman Benn muscled a pull over deep midwicket to spark excitement in the West Indies camp. With three needed off three, Lakmal speared another yorker, before Benn holed out to sweeper cover, leaving Holder to score three off the final delivery. Pradeep bowled another one into the blockhole, with Holder only managing to squeeze it to cover for a single as Sri Lanka pulled off a heist.
Earlier, Niroshan Dickwella enhanced his growing reputation of a steady top-order batsman; his 106-ball 94 and a 107-run stand for the third wicket with Kusal Mendis, who made an effervescent 94, studded Sri Lanka’s 330 for 7 in their final tri-series league fixture on a green Queens’ Sports Club surface in sunny Bulawayo.
Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera, cleaned up by Shannon Gabriel in the third over, but quickly got back on track courtesy Dhananjaya de Silva’s exuberant 58. The first signs of aggression came in the seventh over when Dickwella scooped Carlos Brathwaite over short fine leg, and followed that up by flicking a leg-stump half-volley for six.—AFP