Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka was asked to bat first after West Indian skipper Jason Holder won the toss, at the Riverside Grounds in Durham.
Sri Lanka made 3 changes with Lahiru Thirimanne, Kasun Rajitha and Jefferey Vandersay replacing Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal and Jeevan Mendis. Kemar Roach was unwell on the morning of the match which forced the West Indians to bring in another quick bowler Shannon Gabriel to their line up.
Sri Lanka’s slim chances of reaching the final four ended yesterday (30th June), when the Indians were comprehensively beaten by England – who kept their hopes alive of progressing to the knockouts.
Probably Sri Lanka’s find of the tournament – the opening combination between Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera – lived up to expectation once again, as the former gave good support to the latter in an explosive stand of 93 runs which came in just over 15 overs.
The promising Avishka Fernando then joined Perera – who made 64 off just 51 balls – but the partnership was short lived when a mix up between the two, saw the back of Perera bringing relief to the West Indians.
Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews chipped in with 39 and 26 respectively, as Fernando played the anchor going past the half century mark for the second time in his career. This also made sure Sri Lanka batted brilliantly during the second power-play, which they have struggled right throughout the tournament. Fernando inched towards a maiden ODI hundred and Sri Lanka’s first hundred in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, as the Lions also went past the 250 run mark for the first time in the tournament.
Lahiru Thirimanne playing a new role batting at number 6, gave the innings the ideal impetus with some classical stroke-play as Fernando found the support he badly needed towards the latter part of the innings.
Fernando chipped one to deep mid-wicket to get back for a second run, as he reached a well deserved maiden ODI century off a run-a-ball. He would eventually be dismissed for 104 off 103 ball inclusive of 9 fours and 2 sixes, but not before becoming Sri Lanka’s youngest ever centurion in a World Cup at 21 years and 87 days.
Thirimanne seemed to enjoy his new role as he ended on an impressive 45* not out of just 33 balls as Sri Lanka posted 338/6 in their allotted 50 overs.
Skipper Holder bowled best for the West Indians capturing 2/59, as the rest of the bowling attack seemed to be taken around the park by some fearless Sri Lankan batsmen.
The West Indians crumbled in pursuit of the highest successful run chase in the history of World Cups initially, as they were reduced to 84/4 in the 18th over.
Lasith Malinga did the bulk of the damage at the top removing opener Sunil Ambris with a vicious short ball, before having Shai Hope undone by a slower paced delivery.
Nicholas Pooran though looked like he was fighting a lost battle for large parts of the innings, but he kept the Windies in the game with half century stands with skipper Holder(26) and Carlos Brathwaite(8).
The required rate kept creeping high when Fabian Allen walked into the middle, but his 32 ball 51 run cameo meant West Indies were well within striking distance. The entertaining partnership between Pooran and Allen ended through a horrible mix-up, not before they had added 83 runs off 58 balls for the 7th wicket.
Pooran went on to become the second maiden centurion of the match after Fernando, as the pendulum continued to swing both ways during the latter parts of the match.
Sri Lanka was a bowler short after leaving out Thisara Perera and with Vandersay going around the park, skipper Karunaratne had run out of bowlers with 3 overs remaining in the innings.
He then turned to the experienced Angelo Mathews – who was ruled out from bowling due to injury concerns – before the man with the golden arm dismissed the well set Pooran for a heroic 118 off just 103 balls delivering his first ball of the World Cup.
Mathews had last bowled for Sri Lanka in December 2017 and conceded just 3 runs off the 48th over when West Indies needed 31 off 18 balls. He would eventually end up with figures of 1/06 in the 2 overs he bowled, but it was Malinga who was the star with the ball once again capturing three crucial wickets to lead Sri Lanka to their third win of the competition.
|Dimuth Karunaratne||c Shai Hope b Jason Holder||32||48||4||0||66.67|
|Kusal Perera||run out (Sheldon Cottrell)||64||51||8||0||125.49|
|Avishka Fernando||c Fabian Allen b Sheldon Cottrell||104||103||9||2||100.97|
|Kusal Mendis||c & b Fabian Allen||39||41||4||0||95.12|
|Angelo Mathews||b Jason Holder||26||20||2||1||130.00|
|Lahiru Thirimanne||not out||45||33||4||0||136.36|
|Isuru Udana||c Jason Holder b Oshane Thomas||3||6||0||0||50.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||not out||6||3||1||0||200.00|
|Extras||19 (b 4 , lb 5 , nb 5, w 5, pen 0)|
|Total||338/6 (50 Overs, RR: 6.76)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-93 (15.2) Dimuth Karunaratne, 2-104 (18.1) Kusal Perera, 3-189 (31.5) Kusal Mendis, 4-247 (39.1) Angelo Mathews, 5-314 (47.2) Avishka Fernando, 6-327 (48.6) Isuru Udana,|
|Chris Gayle||c Jeffery Vandersay b Kasun Rajitha||35||48||1||2||72.92|
|SW Ambris||c Kusal Perera b Lasith Malinga||5||6||1||0||83.33|
|Shai Hope||b Lasith Malinga||5||11||1||0||45.45|
|Shimron Hetmyer||run out (Dhananjaya de Silva)||29||38||2||0||76.32|
|Nicholas Pooran||c Kusal Perera b Angelo Mathews||118||103||11||4||114.56|
|Jason Holder||c Jeevan Mendis b Jeffery Vandersay||26||26||4||0||100.00|
|Carlos Brathwaite||run out (Isuru Udana)||8||15||1||0||53.33|
|Fabian Allen||run out (Kasun Rajitha)||51||32||7||1||159.38|
|Sheldon Cottrell||not out||7||9||0||0||77.78|
|Oshane Thomas||lbw b Lasith Malinga||1||6||0||0||16.67|
|Shannon Gabriel||not out||3||7||0||0||42.86|
|Extras||27 (b 3 , lb 2 , nb 2, w 20, pen 0)|
|Total||315/9 (50 Overs, RR: 6.3)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-12 (2.2) SW Ambris, 2-22 (4.6) Shai Hope, 3-71 (15.2) Chris Gayle, 4-84 (17.5) Shimron Hetmyer, 5-145 (28.2) Jason Holder, 6-199 (34.3) Carlos Brathwaite, 7-282 (44.1) Fabian Allen, 8-308 (47.1) Nicholas Pooran, 9-311 (48.3) Oshane Thomas,|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||10||0||49||0||4.90|