Chris Gayle was a disappointment for the West Indies. A hailstorm that began in the 14th over of the chase only added to their frustration as the defending champions exited from the World T20 semifinals, losing to Sri Lanka. The Asia Cup champions will meet the winners of Friday's match between India and South Africa in Sunday's final. With heavy rain predicted over the weekend, the significance of having a reserve day for the final on Monday is finally setting in.
West Indies, halted at 80 for 4 after 13.5 overs with Marlon Samuels hobbling on 18 off 29 balls and Darren Sammy yet to take strike, would have still fancied their chances, especially with the skipper showing in the last two matches the power-hitting this team is capable of. But at that point Duckworth-Lewis calculated that they were 27 runs short, chasing 161 to win, a total they had regularly surpassed in the group league.
There was no chance of a restart as by the time the super-soppers came on to the ground, it had rained so much that the streets around the stadium were flooded. Inside, the ground looked like a lake, the hovercraft pitch cover sticking out like a submarine that has surfaced.
Lightning kept lighting up the dark backdrop behind the light towers of the stadium even before West Indies had begun their chase. Even then Gayle chose to play himself in for a little too long. A fiery beginning with a four and a six by Dwayne Smith fetched 17 runs off the first over but by the end of the fourth, West Indies managed just 25. Just 3 runs wasting 13 balls is not something that had made Gayle and the West Indies a force in the tournament. In the end Sammy did not even get a chance to make up for the left-hander's underwhelming show.
Skipper sits out
Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal opted to sit out the match. Chandimal, one of Sri Lanka's biggest hopes for the future, was banned for the team's slow overrate in their previous match against New Zealand where Sri Lanka scripted a thrilling victory to qualify for the semifinals. The news from the camp was they did not want to change the winning combination. But then they dropped Thisara Perera and brought in leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna, who gave away 15 off two and was not used any further.
After Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara fell in quick succession following a flying start, Sri Lanka rolled to 121 at the end of the 17th. It was then that Angelo Mathews came out all guns blazing. A 23-ball 40 with three fours and two sixes helped Sri Lanka get past the 150-run mark. Lahiru Thirimanne's 44 off 35 with three fours and two sixes helped build their innings in the middle.
Lasith Malinga getting rid of both WI openers in the same over, in hindsight, did the trick.