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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Jayawardene leads Sri Lanka to nine-wicket win
PTI
Pallekele, Sri Lanka, September 29, 2012
First Published: 20:03 IST(29/9/2012)
Last Updated: 22:44 IST(29/9/2012)

Mahela Jayawardene on Saturday struck a record-equalling sixth half century in ICC World Twenty20 as Sri Lanka brightened their semifinal prospects with a crushing nine-wicket win over West Indies in their Super Eights match in Pallekele.

Chasing a modest target of 130, Jayawardene struck 65 off 49 balls to guide the the hosts to victory with 28 deliveries to spare, after the bowlers set it up with a disciplined effort.

This was Sri Lanka's biggest win in terms of balls left.

Aiding skipper Jayawardene in the chase was Kumar Sangakkara (39 off 34), and the two were involved in an unbeaten 108-run partnership for the second wicket, the highest for this wicket in the tournament.

In the process, Jayawardene equalled Chris Gayle's record of six fifties.

It was always going to be a difficult task for the West Indians after they failed to make use of the first strike.

And though Ravi Rampaul had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught behind with a delivery that kicked up on landing, Sri Lanka were always on the driver's seat as long as two of world cricket's most experienced players -- skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara -- were in the middle.

The small target gave both the Lankan veterans a perfect opportunity to play their naturally game, and they did not lag behind when it came to milking the bowlers.

Anything pitched on the pads were promptly flicked over the midwicket and the squareleg fence, the wayward ones outside off were slashed over point while the short balls were pulled behind square.

And there was also a premeditated reverse sweep four by Jayawardene off Sunil Narine.

The two experienced campaigners took centrestage after Dilshan got the hosts off to a rollicking start, smacking three consecutive fours off Fidel Edwards.

The right-handed opener's onslaught not only disturbed Edwrads's rhythm, it also pushed the West Windies back straightaway.


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