Sri Lanka face Gayle storm in T20 clash

Bangalore, India—Troubled champions Sri Lanka will need to tame a rampant Chris Gayle as they face the West Indies in the first major test of their defence of cricket’s Twenty20 trophy Sunday.
The Jamaican, who lit up the first World T20 in 2007, showed his powers remain undimmed when he smashed a 47-ball century to lead the West Indies to victory over England on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, winners of the last World T20 in Bangladesh two years ago, have been badly weakened since the retirements of star batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Slumping to eighth in the T20 rankings, Sri Lanka are also in turmoil after changing their coach and captain in recent weeks and following a disastrous showing at the Asia Cup. ri Lanka were given a morale booster with victory over lowly Afghanistan in their first Super 10 outing on Thursday, when veteran opener Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed 83 off 56 balls. But they face a much tougher test in Gayle who unleashed a succession of sixes during the West Indies’ stunning six-wicket win over England. Captain Angelo Mathews, who replaced injured veteran bowler Lasith Malinga as skipper on tournament eve, was upbeat, saying his side was capable of “doing anything” if they worked together.
“No matter who you play, you have to be positive. We aren’t looking too far ahead, if we click we can do anything,” he said. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Saturday replaced injured paceman Lasith Malinga with 26-year-old leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay as the country moved to defend its World Twenty20 title in India. Sri Lanka Cricket said Vandersay, who has played in four T20 matches and taken one wicket conceding 115 runs, was a “potential future sensation”.
He was sent to India a day after Malinga, 32, flew back home from the T20 World Cup in India without having played a single match. Malinga’s departure was the latest setback for the maverick bowler, having been dropped as skipper after the team’s recent disastrous Asia Cup showing in Bangladesh.
Malinga presided over a dismal performance by Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup where they were beaten by little-fancied Bangladesh, and only just scraped past the United Arab Emirates. —APP

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