Sri Lanka hit back avenging defeat in the opening game by a 43-run triumph over the West Indies in the decisive second T20 encounter in an all-round spurt on the Antigua track. Sri Lanka spelt out a willow weaving magician in their own camp in the aggressive left-handed Danushka Gunathilaka who produced the cameo hitting he is reputed for with a 42-ball 56 spiced with 2 sixes and 2 boundaries. He found a great ally in newcomer Pathum Nissanka who struck 37 off balls inclusive of 4 boundaries and a six in a total of 160 for 6 in 20 overs.
It was a pleasing follow up for the young opener Pathum Nissanka as well who signaled here was the arrival of another firebrand from cricket crazy Moratuwa in the wake of his debut 39. The opening duo fired a 56-run power play assault on the West Indian bowlers that was the lending fusion in a 95-run partnership upfront off 10.2 overs.
In the final analysis, Sri Lanka could well be smiling in seeing newcomer Ashen Bandara, a discovery from the youth team, making his presence felt with a 19-ball 21 hitting a six while Hasaranga too made his all-round worth count making 19 off 11with 3 boundaries.
The Gunathilaka-Nissanka show was the perfect script that consolidated for poor contributions from most of the seniors for Wanindu Hasaranga to scythe into the West Indian batting that folded for 117 with an impeccable Player of The Match 3 for 17 backed by Lakshan Sandakan’s 3 for 10, paceman Dushmantha Chameera 2 for 26 with Akila Dananjaya, the man who nearly won the opening game for Sri Lanka, but ultimately lost it conceding a record 6 sixes in an over, chipping in with a wicket.
The West Indians were well corralled this time around with Hasaranga leading the way. Dananjaya displayed game spirit in putting behind that bad past of few days ago making the breakthrough by bowling Evin Lewis for 6 in reducing the West Indies to 1 for 9 off 2.5 overs and Hasaranga got into the act sending back big man Chris Gayle for 16 caught by Ashen Bandara to reduce the hosts to 45 for 2 off 6.1 overs and followed up 3 runs later trapping Lendl Simmons LBW for to make it 48 for 3 in 6.5 and when Jason Holder was removed by Gunathilaka caught by Dananjaya for 9 in a changed ploy by skipper Angelo Mathews, the West Indies were reeling on 60 for 4 off just 8.3 overs and slipped into deeper calamity 5 for 65 at the halfway mark when Dwayne Bravo was dismissed by paceman Dushmantha Chameera for 2 caught by Mathews as the Sri Lankans made no mistake in the final cleaning up. The hosts threw in the towel 117 off 18.4 overs.
Sri Lanka 160/6 (20 Overs) RR: 8.00
(Danushka Gunathilaka 56, Pathum Nissanka 37, Ashen Bandara 21, Wanindu Hasaranga 19, Angelo Mathews 13, Dwayne Bravo 2/26)
(Dhanushka Gunathilaka 56, Pathum Nissanka 37, Wanindu Hararanga 17,
West Indies 117 (18.4 Overs) Run Rate: 6.26
(Lendl Simmons 21, Chris Gayle 16, Kieron Pollard 13, Fabian Allen 12, Wanindu Hasaranga 3/17, Lakshan Sandakan 3/10, Dushmantha Chameera 2/26, Danushka Gunathilaka 1/8, Akila Dananjaya 1/13)