Sri Lankan medium-pacer Farveez Maharoof registered his career-best bowling figures of six for 14 to skittle the West Indies for 80 as Sri Lanka topped the qualifying stage after drubbing the defending champions by nine wickets in the last qualifying game of the Champions Trophy at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.
After routing the West Indies batsmen in just 30.4 overs, Sri Lanka overhauled the target in less that 14 overs after opener Upul Tharnaga perished off the first ball of the innings. Sanath Jayasuriya (45 not out) and Mahela Jaywardene (34 not out) put on 83 runs in their unfinished second wicket partnership to see the team through.
After five virtual no-contests in the tournament so far, Saturday game was expected to be an intense battle between the bat and the ball. However, the slowly building crowd at the CCI, hosting its first game under lights, witnessed another one-sided affair. In fact, the 3,000-odd spectators were deprived of a day-night affair as the match was over way before the newly-installed lights were fully illuminated.
Maharoof, who replaced Lankan pace spearhead Chaminda Vaas in the 13th over, started his onslaught in his second over with the most wanted wicket of Windies skipper Brian Lara (13). Lara, who was trying to resurrect the Windies innings after the top three batsmen fell cheaply, missed a straight one from Maharoof, was hit on the pads and umpire Asad Rauf's had no hesitation in raising the finger.
The West Indies had strengthened their batting order by including Dwayne Smith in the line-up, making it nine regular batsmen in the team. However, Lara's dismissal demoralised the Windies middle-order and they literally fell like a pack of a cards.
Maharoof sent Lara, Dwayne Bravo (0), Marlon Samuels (1), Smith (0) and Baugh (1) packing within a span of 30 minutes to leave the West Indies reeling from at 64 for eight in the 25th over.
Wavell Hinds (28), the top-scorer who held one end up, was Maharoof's sixth victim, brilliantly caught by Jayasuriya at short cover.
Not only was it Maharoof's best individual haul, it was also the best bowling performance in the Champions Trophy history. Maharoof broke the record held by Pakistan's Shahid Afridi, who took five for 11 against Kenya in 2004.
The West Indies total of 80 was the third lowest total in the Champions Trophy history.
After Lara won the toss and, as expected, elected to bat first on a hot and humid afternoon, the inform Chris Gayle was expected to whack the ball to all corners of the relatively small ground. However, it was not to be.
Experienced left-armer Vaas swung the ball right from the word go and after missing the bat's edge twice off his first four deliveries, he struck on the fifth. Gayle (0) was unable to cover the outswing, edged the ball and Kumar Sangakkara finished the job behind the stumps.
Vaas, who was rested in the last match, was charged-up after the dismissal. He trapped the reliable Ramnaresh Sarwan (0) off the first ball of his second over to leave the West Indies at 12 for two.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who had started on a positive note with two fours off Lasith Malinga, was the next to go when Malinga exacted his revenge in his second over.
Lara and Wavell Hinds then tried to undo the damage. However, an immaculate opening spell by Vaas and the uneven bounce at the wicket did not allow them to score freely. Vaas, in fact, was so accurate that of the six runs he conceded in his six overs, four came off no-balls and one off a wide.
1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Marvan Atapattu, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Chaminda Vaas, 9 Muttiah Muralitharan, 10 Dilhara Fernando, 11 Lasith Malinga.
1 Chris Gayle, 2 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Brian Lara (capt), 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Wavell Hinds, 8 Dwayne Smith, 9 Carlton Baugh (wk), 10 Fidel Edwards, 11 Corey Collymore.