For the rest of the teams, the match between Sri Lanka and West Indies was a great reliever between a string of nerve-wracking matches, but not for the two teams in question. They had pride at stake when they entered the Riverside Ground today (July 1). With a 23-run victory, Sri Lanka continue to stay alive, at least mathematically, at the World Cup.
Sri Lanka, for a change, built up a good opening partnership of 93 runs. Kusal Perera scored 64 runs in just 51 deliveries. After his dismissal, Kusal Mendis amassed 39 from 41 balls. But the highlight of their innings was youngster Avishka Fernando, who scored his first international ton.
Sri Lanka’s long hunt for a dependable and young batsman might come to an end, with the 21-year-old showing great character and composure. Fernando scored 104 runs from 103 balls. Lahiru Thirimanne’s late blistering knock of unbeaten 45 helped Sri Lanka score 338 runs.
West Indies faltered when they came out to bat. Lasith Malinga was running circles around their batting lineup until Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer decided to show resilience. Yet, their partnership was extremely slow when the situation demanded fireworks.
Nicholas Pooran decided to embark on that mission but lacked a partner. Jason Holder couldn’t capitalize on his start while Carlos Brathwaite’s dismissal was as unlucky as they come. Fabian Allen tried to pull off a miracle but was instead involved in a shambolic run-out. Pooran, who could’ve saved Allen, redeemed himself with a 103-ball 118. He kept his side in the game till the 47th over but finally threw his wicket away to Angelo Mathews.
In a match where veterans Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews played vital roles, the star was youngster Avishka Fernando. Sri Lanka desperately needed someone to bank on, and Fernando might be the answer. The Wadduwa-born cricketer’s gritty knock was composed of nine fours and a couple of sixes. From what we have seen today, he seems to be a player to look forward to.
Also read – World cup most wicketsPublished 02 Jul 2019, 00:47 IST