WEST INDIES WIN BY 3 WICKETS TO TAKE SERIES 2-1
In a T20 series that Sri Lanka was outplayed 2-1 by the West Indies surrendering the final one by 3 wickets, the heartening bright spark for the Lankan camp was indeed the emergence of 22-year old all-rounder Ashen Bandara whose 35-ball unbeaten 44 showcased by 2 sixes and 3 boundaries was a performance that by far comparatively outshone his far more experienced seniors on a day skipper Angelo Mathews once again failed with the bat at Antigua.
West Indies won by virtue of their superiority in depth despite losing danger man Kieron Pollard bowled by Dushmantha for a duck with No. 8 Fabian Allen settling it with an unbeaten 21off just 6 balls laced with 3 sixes – 134 for 7 off 19 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 131 for 4 off 20 after winning the toss. Akila Dananjaya being taken to the cleaners conceding 53 off his 4 overs proved costly despite tidy spells by Lakshan Sandakan 3 for 29, Wanindu Hasaranga 2 for 13 and Dushmantha Chameera 2 for 23.
Batting in the lower order No.6 slot Bandara, a product from Galle, succeeded in providing the sparkle that had made him a productive youth player as the right hander’s knock was a typical eye opening example to his seniors for sheer pluck and stroke play. In many ways it outclassed Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten top score of 54 off 46 balls with just the 3 boundaries.
Sri Lanka’s top order was exposed losing four wickets for 46 off 9.3 overs as the West Indian pace trio of Fabian Allen, Kevin Sinclair and Jason Holder sent back Danushka Gunathilaka for 9, Niroshan Dickwella for 4 and Pathum Nissanka for 5 respectively – 3 for 27 off 6 overs, and when Mathews was sent back by Obed McCoy for 11 – 46-4 in 9.3 the writing was on the wall. It took the new youth arrival Bandara and Chandimal to lift the side to past the three figure mark and the ultimate 131 through an unbroken 75-run fifth wicket partnership off 63 deliveries, but the upfront decimation proved costly with the run rate falling.
Fabian Allen was adjudged Player of the Match.
SRI LANKA 131/4 (20 Overs) RR: 6.55
(Dinesh Chandimal n.o. 54, Ashen Bandara n.o. 44, Angelo Mathews 11, Fabian Allen 1/13, Kevin Sinclair 1/19, Jason Holder 1/27, Obed McCoy 1/29)
WEST INDIES 134/7 (19 Overs) RR: 7.05
(Lendl Simmons 26, Nicholas Pooran 23, Fabian Allen n.o. 21, Evin Lewis 21, Jason Holder 14, Chris Gayle 13, Lakshan Sandakan 3/29, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/13, Dushmantha Chameera 2/23)
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-