Mirpur, Apr 3: A dominant Sri Lanka today made it to the ICC World T20 final for the third time knocking out defending champions West Indies by 27 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method after thundershowers stopped proceedings in the 14th over of the second innings.
Batting first in the first semi-final, Sri Lanka scored an impressive 160 for six riding on important contributions from Angelo Mathews (40) and Lahiru Thirimanne (45).
In reply, West Indies were 80 for four in 13.5 overs when a storm followed by heavy downpour ruled out any chances of a game.
The D/L par score at that point of time was 107 and the Caribbeans were well short of the target, struggling at 80 for four in 13.5 overs. There was certainly no 'Gayle-storm' but the 15-minute 'Kalboisakhi' (NorWesters), as they call in this part of the world, turned the ground into a lake.
Umpires Richard Kettleborough and Rod Tucker had to wait as per rules before Sri Lanka were adjudged winners.
But the Lankans were the deserving winners considering that West Indies were never in the hunt during their chase except for the first over.
Dwayne Smith (17) made his intentions clear in the first two balls bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara, lofting him for a boundary and a six respectively as 17 came from the first over.
Chris Gayle (3) looked out of touch and looked shaky having been hit on the shinbone while fielding. After scratching around for a dozen deliveries, he played a Lasith Malinga slower delivery onto his stumps.
The skipper then bowled another slow off-break that breached through Dwayne Smith's defence. After their stand-in captain provided twin breakthroughs, the rejuvenated Lankans stemmed the flow of runs with some tight bowling.
Lendl Simons (4) was done in by a flipper from leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna as he was caught plumb on the back-foot. West Indies were struggling at 34 for three at the start of the eighth over.
Sri Lanka Innings Report
Lahiru Thirimanne arrested a top-order slide while Angelo Mathews played a lovely cameo as Sri Lanka posted a fighting 160 for six.
Thirimanne scored 44 off 35 balls while Mathews blasted his way in the final two overs smashing 40 off only 23 balls.
Veteran opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (39) did not convert a good start while other two seniors Mahela Jayawardene (0) and Kumar Sangakkara (1) did not even get going.
Mathews scored 32 runs in the final two overs bowled by Krishmar Santokie and Andre Russell to get Sri Lanka. Mathews had three fours and two sixes in his knock.
The worrying point for West Indies could be dashing opener Chris Gayle getting hurt in the shin-bone region while trying to back up for a powerful throw from Marlon Samuels.
Gayle limped off the field in the 15th over. The Lankan openers gave a flying start to the innings, getting 32 off the first three overs.
It was one such day when opening bowlers Santokie (2/46 in 4 overs) and Samuel Badree (1/23 in 4 overs) did not get the length right in the initial overs.
Badree, however, did well in the second spell. After an uppishly driven boundary by Dilshan off Badree past mid-off, young Kusal Perera (26) got stuck into Santokie hitting him for two boundaries in the second over.
First was a swing past deep fine leg as he bowled it on pads, the second was picked from outside the off-stump and hit over mid-wicket.
In Badree's next over, both Dilshan and Perera used their feet as they hit the leggie for a six each. Perera looked in great touch as he dispatched a Santokie length ball over long-on for his second six as 41 runs were added in 3.5 overs before the left-arm seamer got lucky.
It was an ordinary delivery that was short on length and Perera only managed to chop it on to the stumps. Jayawardene was unlucky as Dilshan proved to be a poor judge and Darren Sammy's throw from point caught the non-striker a foot off the crease.