West Indies have brushed aside Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the World T20, though the victory has not come without cost with master blaster Chris Gayle picking up an injury in the match at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday (NZT Monday).
Gayle, scorer of an unbeaten century in the Windies’ tournament opener against England, suffered a hamstring injury while fielding and never made it to the crease, dropping down the order and not required to bat with opening replacement Andre Fletcher hitting an unbeaten 84.
Fletcher struck five sixes and six boundaries to spearhead the chase of 123 runs.
Gayle left the field after picking up the injury, later described by West Indies as a “twinge”. Gayle appeared upbeat in a post-match tweet, saying: “Great team win tonight. The Bengaluru crowd/fans always amazing, sorry y’all didn’t see me bat tonight but I will be back. #OneLove #WorldT20”.
Fresh from the impressive six-wicket win over England last week, Windies skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and put Sri Lanka in, trusting his batsmen to chase down any total.
Defending champions Sri Lanka slumped to a disappointing 122-9 and then had no answer to Fletcher, who played with maturity to strengthen his team’s charge for a semi-final berth.
“We know what we are capable off. We know the strength of our team. If we continue playing the kind of cricket we are accustomed to playing, we are going to lift the cup a second time,” man-of-the-match Fletcher said after the game.
The win was set up by a strong bowling performance by the Windies, with pace bowler Carlos Brathwaite drawing first blood by getting the in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan out lbw with his first ball of the match in the third over.
Dilshan, who scored 83 against Afghanistan last week, had tried to set the tone, hitting his first ball for six and following that up with a boundary, but he was out for 12.
His strike partner Dinesh Chandimal also suffered a soft dismissal, when he was run out on 16 in the fifth over.
Spinner Samuel Badree took 3-12 in his four overs to wreak havoc with Sri Lanka’s top order with Lahiru Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedera and Milinda Siriwardana all falling cheaply.
“We just kept losing wickets and by the time we reassessed, it was too late,” Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Matthews said.
Mathews and Thisara Perera had a mountain to climb to put a competitive total on the board and managed 44 runs in 46 balls for the sixth wicket but both were caught off deliveries by Dwayne Bravo to give Sri Lanka no chance. (Courtesy Reuters)