Jayawardene leads hosts to win over West Indies

Mahela Jayawardena

KANDY, Sri Lanka (Reuters) – Captain Mahela Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 65 to lead Sri Lanka to a nine-wicket victory over West Indies in their World Twenty20 Super Eight match at Pallekele on Saturday.

Jayawardene made little of the West Indies total of 129 for five, as he hit 10 fours and a six in his 49-ball innings which earned him the man-of-the-match award.

The Sri Lanka skipper and Kumar Sangakkara (39 not out), figured in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 108 off 75 balls to surpass the West Indies total with 28 balls to spare.

“We had a good game plan and we got it about 90 percent right,” said Jayawardene.

“All the bowlers bowled to our plans and we could put pressure on them.

“There was not much of a pressure for batsmen. We needed to play with wickets in hand.

“Dilshan gave us a good start and Kumar played well and we finished the game well,” he added.

West Indies struggled against spin and their total was never competitive enough to give their bowlers any chance against a strong Lankan batting line up on a slow turning pitch.

Ajantha Mendis bowled a tantalising line and length to bamboozle the West Indies batting, taking two wickets for 12 runs.

The three Sri Lankans spinners used – Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis and Rangana Herath – conceded only 40 runs in eight overs.

West Indies were restricted to 20 runs in the first six overs of power play, the lowest in the tournament so far.

However, the key wicket of Chris Gayle was picked up Nuwan Kulasekara who had him caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara for two chasing at a wide ball.

Marlon Samuels top scored for West Indies with 50 off 35 balls which included two sixes and four fours. He and Dwayne Bravo (40) added 65 for the third wicket off 56 balls.

West Indies captain Darren Sammy conceded his team did not adapt to the Sri Lankan conditions quickly enough.

“The pitch did suit Sri Lanka but we’re playing international cricket and when we’re in Sri Lanka we expect the pitches to turn. It’s nothing new to us. I just think we didn’t adapt quickly enough,” said Sammy.

“When we won the toss and batted first we backed ourselves to put a good total on the board but Sri Lanka bowled really well today and restricted us.”

Tournament hosts Sri Lanka play defending champions England in their final Super Eight match on Monday and West Indies meet New Zealand on the same day.
Source: Reuters