Avishka Fernando was on Monday declared Man of the Match after he pulled back his maiden One-Day International (ODI) century to help Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 23 runs in a high-scoring clash of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup at the Riverside Ground in Chester le Street.
Asked to bat first, Fernando not only smashed a blistering knock of 104 runs off 103 balls including nine boundaries and two sixes but also stitched crucial partnerships with Kusal Mendis (39), Angelo Mathews (26) and Lahiru Thirimanne (unbeaten at 45) to help Sri Lanka post a mammoth total of 338 for six.
While picking up the Player of the Match award, Fernando said that he is extremely happy to bring up his maiden ODI century in Sri Lanka's winning cause.
"They bowled well. Very happy this hundred came in a winning cause. Very happy that I got this opportunity. Happy to have made use of this opportunity. And all I want to focus on is improving my game for the country," ESPNcricinfo quoted Fernando as saying.
Chasing the target, Nicholas Pooran (118 off 103 balls) too scored his maiden ODI ton besides also stitching a crucial 83-run partnership with Fabian Allen (51) to put West Indies on the verge of victory. However, the Sri Lanka bowlers held their nerves to restrict the Caribbean side to a score of 315 for nine in their stipulated 50 overs.
Lasith Malinga was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka with the figures of three for 55. Meanwhile, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay and Angelo Mathews also chipped in with a wicket each.
Overall, 21-year-old Fernando has appeared in a total of nine ODIs for Sri Lanka and amassed 328 runs at a batting average of 36.4.