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Sri Lanka holds off West Indies by 23 runs

Updated July 01, 2019

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Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando and Lahiru Thirimanne during World Cup fixture against West Indies at Chester-le-Street on July 1. — Reuters
Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando and Lahiru Thirimanne during World Cup fixture against West Indies at Chester-le-Street on July 1. — Reuters

It was a day late and counted for little in the context of the cricket World Cup, but there was no lack of tension as Sri Lanka fended off the West Indies by 23 runs.

Avishka Fernando scored 104 from 103 balls to guide Sri Lanka to 338-6, its highest total of the tournament, and Lasith Malinga took two early wickets to stymie the start of the run chase before adding another one late to all but finish it off.

West Indies, with some star power support from Rihanna on a blustery, slightly overcast day no need for shade, or shelter from the rain made a chase of it but ran out of time and finished 315-9.

Rihanna's reaction when Chris Gayle got out, head back in disbelief, summed up the overall feeling of the game over at 71-3.

But when Nicholas Pooran (108) and Fabian Allen (51) combined in an 83-run, seventh-wicket stand, the superstar singer from Barbados was back on her feet along with the crowd.

Allen joined Pooran with the total at 199-6 and scored his first ODI 50 from 30 balls, including six and seven boundaries, before he became the third West Indian run out in the innings.

He glanced to leg, decided against a run but then went when Pooran on 99 was midway down the pitch. He was well short of his ground at the non-striker's end.

That left the West Indies 282-7 with 35 balls remaining.

Pooran posted his first ODI century, was dropped at long-off in the next over but was finally out caught behind when he chased Angelo Mathew's first delivery of the match in the 48th over.

Malinga trapped Oshane Thomas lbw in the penultimate over, getting the decision on review, and joined Wasim Akram at number three on the all-time list of World Cup wicket-takers by lifting his career haul to 55.

Toss

West Indies earlier chose to field first against Sri Lanka in the World Cup group game that will have no bearing on the playoffs but has plenty of pride at stake for each team.

Sri Lanka was still in semifinal contention until Sunday evening, when England's victory over previously unbeaten India ended the chances of Dimuth Karunaratne's squad making it to the last four. It was a payback of sorts from the tournament hosts, after Sri Lanka's upset win over England at Leeds had opened up the competition.

The West Indies slipped out of contention last week following a fourth consecutive defeat, but coach Floyd Reifer said the future starts with the game against Sri Lanka.

Reifer said his team had plenty to play for and would be up for the game at Durham's county ground at Chester-le-Street.

Veteran opener Chris Gayle starts the game, his 294th ODI, needing 53 runs to pass Brian Lara's mark of 10,348 as the most prolific scorer for West Indies in one-day international cricket.

Sri Lanka has won the last three meetings between the two countries at World Cups, and five of its last six ODIs against West Indies.

The forecast is for a mild, overcast day.

Teams

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Perera (WK), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kasun Rajitha, Lasith Malinga

West Indies: Chris Gayle, Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope (WK), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Shannon Gabriel