Tanvir Khan/Zeecric Bureau
London, June 19: Sri Lanka overwhelmed West Indies with bat and ball at the Oval Friday to win their Twenty20 World Cup semi-final by 57 runs with 14 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka will meet Pakistan, who defeated South Africa on Thursday, in Sunday`s final at Lord`s.
Man-of-the-match Tillakaratne Dilshan came within four runs of the first century of the tournament, batting through the innings to finish on 96 not out from 57 balls in Sri Lanka`s 158 for five.
Angelo Mathews then clean-bowled Xavier Marshall, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo for ducks in an astonishing first over which effectively ended West Indies`s run chase before it had begun.
Chris Gayle played a captain`s role with no support from the other end.
He missed more than usual and was lucky not to become Mathews`s fourth victim when he almost played on to the stumps but survived to carry his bat for 63 from 50 balls. No other batsman reached double figures.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka started off brilliantly riding on Dilshan (96* off 47) and Sanath Jayasuriya (24 off 37) who put up a half century stand for the opening wicket in quick time. Soon after Jaya, Dilshan fought a lone battle for his team and took the islanders into the mega finale. Jayasuriya had played a slow innings as per his standards, but put SL into a strong position before he succumbed. At some moment, it seemed like a Dilshan versus West Indies match.
There was nothing much to boast about in the Lankan innings apart from Dilshan and a couple of boundaries by Angelo Matthews in the death, that took the Lankan total to 158 on one hand, but deprived Dilshan of his century which could have been only the second ever instance in a T20 international.
Chasing 159 for booking a berth in the final of the tournament, West Indies started off like popcorns in a microwave. Angelo Matthews dismissed three batsmen in the very first over namely Simmons, Marshall and the dangerous Bravo, all for nought. The great fall of West Indies had been drafted in the very first over of their chase.
Similar to the Sri Lankan innings where Dilshan was the lone warrior of sorts, Chris Gayle (63* off 50) stood unaccompanied for West Indies. Unaccompanied to such an extent, that no other West Indian batsman reached the double figure mark. West Indies’ scorecard, after Chris Gayle on top, looked like an international phone number. The highest score after the half centurion Gayle was “Extras”, 11.
If it was Matthews who was the wrecker-in-chief at the start of the innings, Muttiah Muralitharan proved to be West Indies’ nemesis in the middle stage of the game when he scalped three wickets to reduce the Caribbeans to rubble. Ajantha Mendis, the mystery magician also provided ample support with two wickets.
Sri Lanka, under Kumara Sangakkara, thus continued their unbeaten run in the tournament to set up a date with Pakistan at Lord’s.
"I thought the total we got was a very challenging one and we owe everything to Dilshan for the way he set it up," Sangakkara told a news conference.
"There are always areas we would like to improve and brush up but today was a near flawless effort from our bowlers."
But there was a sting in the tail for the winners who were fined for bowling one over short during the allotted time. Sangakkara was fined 10 per cent of his match fee and the rest of the team five percent.
Sri Lanka : Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara(w/c), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis
West Indies : Chris Gayle(c), Xavier Marshall, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Denesh Ramdin(w), Keiron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn