Sports News, International, (Chester-le-Street), July 2:-Avishka Fernando’s century before a three-wicket haul by Lasith Malinga helped Sri Lanka defeat West Indies by 23 runs in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at Riverside Ground on Monday.
West Indies suffered an early blow as they lost Sunil Ambris and Shai Hope in quick succession while chasing a mammoth target of 339 runs.
Big-hitter Chris Gayle held his nerves and along with Shimron Hetmyer rebuilt the West Indies innings with their brief 49-run stand for the third wicket. However, in the 16th over, Kasun Rajitha bagged the pricey wicket of Gayle for 35. Soon after, Hetmyer followed Gayle back to the pavilion as Dhananjaya de Silva direct hit and run out Hetmyer for 29.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder came out to support Nicholas Pooran as the duo formed a 61-run partnership before Jeffrey Vandersay dismissed Holder for 26, reducing West Indies to 145/5.
Carlos Brathwaite failed to put up an impressive show for the West Indies supporters as Isuru Udana cheaply run out Brathwaite for eight. Pooran found support in Fabian Allen as they stitched an 83-run partnership.
Fabian completed his fifty but soon after became the third run out of the West Indies innings. Rajitha and Udana combined and pulled off a brilliant run out, sending Fabian back to the pavilion for 51 and reducing the Caribbean side to 282/7 after 44.1 overs.
Pooran took West Indies past the 300-run mark but soon after Angelo Mathews, who came to bowl his first ball since 2017, got Pooran caught behind for 118 and diminished West Indies’ hopes of creating the record of highest run-chase in World Cup history. Towards the end, the Caribbean team fell 23 runs short of the target in their allotted 50 overs.
Earlier, Fernando’s knock of 104 runs enabled Sri Lanka to post a challenging total of 338 runs on board for the loss of six wickets in the allotted fifty overs after being put into bat.
Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera provided Sri Lanka with a good start at the top. The duo played in an aggressive mode and created pressure on the Windies lineup. Both batsmen stitched together a partnership of 93-runs, but their stint at the crease was finally ended by Windies skipper Jason Holder as he dismissed Karunaratne (32) in the 16th over.
Perera (64) was also dismissed soon after, as he was sent back to the pavilion via run-out, reducing Sri Lanka to 104/2. Kusal Mendis joined Fernando in the middle and the duo retrieved the innings for Sri Lanka as they put up an 85-run stand. Windies bowlers looked all out of sorts when both batsmen were at the crease. Mendis (39) was finally dismissed in the 32nd over by Fabian Allen as he had him caught and bowled.
Mathews joined Fernando at the crease and their partnership saw Fernando changing gears and taking on the Windies bowlers. The duo stitched together a 58-run partnership before Mathews (26) was clean bowled by Holder in the 40th over, reducing Sri Lanka to 247/4.
Lahiru Thirimanne came out to bat next and he gave the Lankan innings the much-needed impetus. The left-hander took Windies bowlers to the cleaners. He put up a 67-run stand with Fernando, which saw Fernando bringing up his first ever century in the ODI format. With this century, Fernando became the youngest Sri Lankan batsman to register a century in the World Cup.
Fernando (104) was finally dismissed by Sheldon Cottrell, but Thirimanne ensured Sri Lanka goes past the 335-run mark. Jason Holder scalped maximum wickets for West Indies as he dismissed two Sri Lankan batsmen.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)