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ICC World Cup 2019, Match 39: Sri Lanka vs Windies – Who Said What

Avishka Fernando was adjudged the Player of the Match for his match-winning ton.

Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The match between Sri Lanka and the Windies at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street turned out to be a closely-fought one. In the end, Dimuth Karunaratne’s men beat their opponent by 23 runs to hold on to their slimmest of chances of qualifying for the semis. For the Windies, they simply couldn’t find a way of ceasing their horrendous run in the World Cup.

The Lankans got off to a superlative start as the openers Dimuth Karunaratne (32) and Kusal Perera (64) stitched together a stand of 93 runs in 15.2 overs. Unfortunately, both batters perished in a space of three overs and Windies got themselves back into the game. However, Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis helped the Lankans regain momentum. The duo added 85 runs for the third wicket.

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Even as Mendis got out on 39 to Fabian Allen, Fernando notched his maiden international century off 100 balls. In the last 10 overs, the likes of Angelo Mathews (26) and Lahiru Thirimanne (45) played some scorching strokes to take their team to a formidable score of 338 in their 50 overs. For the Windies, while Jason Holder got two wickets, Allen, Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas got one scalp each.

Windies fight with all their might

The Caribbean team didn’t make the greatest of starts as Shai Hope and Sunil Ambris got out to the guile of Lasith Malinga. Chris Gayle (35) got his eye in, but a rash shot off Kasun Rajitha saw his wicket go down. Two overs later, a superb direct hit from Dhananjaya de Silva led to Shimron Hetmyer’s (29) dismissal. Skipper Holder and Carlos Brathwaite got out cheaply to make Lanka firm favourites.

But Nicholas Pooran along with Fabian Allen (51) brought their team back into contention. Pooran started accelerating after his fifty off 57 balls. After a stand of 81, a horrendous mix-up led to Allen’s run-out. Pooran got to his hundred off 92 balls, but his task wasn’t over by any means.

To everyone’s surprise, Angelo Mathews was handed the ball for the first time since December 2017 and picked up the prized scalp of Pooran on the very first delivery. Pooran’s knock ended on 118 off 102 balls and his dismissal turned out to be the final nail in the coffin of a Windies’ victory.

Avishka Fernando, the Player of the Match, said

When I went in to bat, I am happy I did what was required of me. I am happy that the hundred was in a winning effort. They bowled really well to us. I am really happy that I got these opportunities and I have made use of them, and I will use them to take my game forward and developing my game for my country and my team.

Jason Holder, the Windies captain, said

Probably, a bit slow off the blocks. Sloppy on the field and gave away a few extra runs. In a format like this, these things matter. You’ve got to be better than that. I thought it was above-par. Was a free-scoring wicket, was a bit slow but still was a good track for strokeplay. Fernando played well early on and Pooran also played well. Just needed to spend some time in the middle and it got easier.

I thought we pulled things back well at the end but our fielding gave them 30-40 runs extra. We were always backing ourselves to get across the line. Got into a really good position but then threw it away. That run out was crucial, as was Pooran’s wicket. Maybe we could have taken it deeper. Definitely promising (Pooran) to see them play such fearless cricket. Just need to win (the last match) and end on a high.

Dimuth Karunaratne, the Sri Lanka captain, said

Good win for us, gives us a lot of confidence. Players stood up at vital times and that’s what I’m expecting as a captain. I think we were putting pressure on ourselves (prior to this game) and weren’t expressing properly. Today, we did that and the middle order batted well. Avishka was really good in his innings. We knew that they are a good six-hitting side and wanted to keep the pressure on, and increase the required rate slowly.

Pooran was playing really well. (Mathews bowling) Thing is that we had to get those two overs done. He put his hand up and said that he’ll bowl the overs. He did a fantastic job and that’s what I am expecting as a captain. Don’t think he’ll bowl too many but if needed, certainly he may chip in with a couple of overs.

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