Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Sri Lanka knock out West Indies with sharp all-round display

Where do Sri Lanka go from here? (2:12)

Mahela Jayawardene gives his thoughts on a young Sri Lankan team (2:12)

Sri Lanka 189 for 3 (Asalanka 68, Nissanka 51) beat West Indies 169 for 8 (Hetmyer 81*, Pooran 46, Hararanga 2-19, Fernando 2-24) by 20 runs

The kids are alright. Both Sri Lanka's and West Indies'.

In a game featuring some of T20s greatest names - Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard etc - it was a group of players under 27 that really shone. Perhaps the baton has been passed.

For Sri Lanka, their two best batters of the tournament, Charith Asalanka (aged 24), and Pathum Nissanka (23), put on a 91-run stand off 61 balls for the second wicket, to help set up a total of 189 for 3, which always seemed commanding, even on a good Abu Dhabi pitch.

Both hit fifties, but Asalanka's was the better one. He struck 68 off 41, cracking a six and eight fours. In defence of a pretty big total, Wanindu Hasaranga (24), took two further wickets to finish at 16 for the tournament - a T20 World Cup record.

For West Indies, the greats didn't really show, but two young batters did, and despite the incompetence around them even got West Indies to within 20 runs of Sri Lanka's total. Twenty-four-year-old Shimron Hetmyer's 81 off 54 was the more substantial of the two. Nicholas Pooran (26) hit 46 off 34. No other West Indies batter made double figures.

The Asalanka-Nissanka stand

When Sri Lanka started this tournament, Asalanka wasn't even in the XI. He then came in at No. 3 for Dinesh Chandimal, who had failed in the first couple of games. Since then he's hit 8, 80*, 35, 21, 12, and 68. His innings on Thursday wasn't even his best of the tournament (that would be his 80* while chasing, against Bangladesh). It was still impressive though. He found regular boundaries while the spinners were operating (he is especially good against spinners), worked the singles and twos efficiently the rest of the time, and thanks largely to him, Sri Lanka were skipping along at more than eight an over for the majority of their innings.

Nissanka, meanwhile, wasn't quite so regular with the boundary-hitting, but found plenty of runs square on the legside, and took calculated risks that mostly paid off in his 51 off 41 balls. Their partnership defined the match. And they both ended up with more than 200 runs in the tournament - Asalanka making all but eight of those in the Super 12 stage.

Sri Lanka's finish

The second-wicket stand had set Sri lanka up nicely, but it still needed a fillip to get into the commanding territory they eventually achieved. Dasun Shanaka promoted himself up the order, though, and produced his best batting performance of the tournament, hitting a six and two fours in his eventual 25 not out off 14. With Asalanka also raising the tempo until he was eventually caught at square leg in the 19th over, Sri Lanka made 52 in the last four overs.

West Indies' collapse

Gayle, match-winner in so many T20 internationals, played his fourth meek innings in a row. He hit one single off his first four balls, and holed out to mid off playing his first aggressive shot of the match, to be out for one off five deliveries. Evin Lewis and Roston Chase were also dismissed inside the Powerplay, substantially denting West Indies' chances.

If there was one half-decent stand, it was the 30-run affair between Pooran and Hetmyer, until eventually Pooran fell early in the 12th over. By then, the required rate had climbed to well over 12. Hetmyer, who was 9 off 15 when Pooran fell, then started playing much more aggressively, but wickets kept falling at the other end. If one other batter had contributed a rapid 35, West Indies could maybe have got close.

In the end though, Sri Lanka were good with the ball and excellent with the field, and they closed the match down efficiently.

West Indies 2nd innings Partnerships

1st1CH GayleE Lewis
2nd9E LewisN Pooran
3rd37RL ChaseN Pooran
4th30N PooranSO Hetmyer
5th17AD RussellSO Hetmyer
6th13KA PollardSO Hetmyer
7th10JO HolderSO Hetmyer
8th14DJ BravoSO Hetmyer
9th38AJ HoseinSO Hetmyer

ICC Men's T20 World Cup

First Round Group A
First Round Group B
Group 1
Group 2