It was a ‘David and Goliath’ story in the second T20 encounter where Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 43 runs with pint-sized Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandaken and Wanidu Hasaranga doing the damage.
As the biblical story goes size doesn’t matter and it’s HEART, COURAGE, and COMMITMENT that matters. That was the same that applied when Sri Lanka started off after being defeated in the first match.
Sri Lanka’s spinners manufactured the victory over the West Indies in Antigua to keep the three-match series alive and bring an end to an eight-match losing streak in T20Is, the ESPN reported.
On a sluggish surface, Akila Dananjaya, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Lakshan Sandakan proved a handful – picking up seven wickets between them, the latter two picking up three wickets apiece – as Sri Lanka defended their total of 160 with ease. Such was the control Sri Lanka’s spinners exerted, even part-time offspinner Danushka Gunathilaka got in on the act, picking up the wicket of Jason Holder.
In fact, 68 of the 117 runs the hosts eventually accumulated came off Sri Lanka’s two fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera and Thisara Perera; 41 of those were taken from Perera’s two overs alone.
But while the final margin of victory suggested total dominance on the part of the visitors, at the half-way point they would have felt 15-20 runs short considering the start they had.
Gunathilaka, in particular, was in great nick, continuing the form that had seen him top the run charts at the Lanka Premier League a few months back. His 56 runs came off 42 deliveries and included four fours and two sixes, but it was the control he exerted throughout that was most impressive, rarely needing to take risks to accumulate his runs.
Alongside him Pathum Nissanka – one of the few bright sparks for the visitors from the first T20I – kept the scoreboard ticking along as the pair put on 56 inside the powerplay and 94 in the first ten overs. But the middle order once more failed to produce anything of substance as the next ten overs produced only 66 runs. Indeed it was only a late 11-ball 19 not out from the Player of the Match Hasaranga that saw Sri Lanka even manage the score they did – one which eventually proved enough.
Dwayne Bravo continued to trouble the Sri Lanka batsmen for a second game running as his mix of slower balls proved increasingly difficult to get away with. His four overs produced figures of 2 for 25, though it was his opening over which brought his side back into the game just as the Sri Lankans would have been to tee-off.
Coming into the attack in the 11th over, with Gunathilaka and Nissanka looking well set, Bravo came up with a bit of magic in the field to break the partnership. Scuttling to his left in his follow-through, Bravo picked up the ball, swivelled and in one move threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Nissanka, who had been running well with Gunathilaka up until that point, was well short of his crease. Three balls later, Gunathilaka could only scythe a Bravo slower ball to the man at wide mid-off.
And just like that Sri Lanka, who would have been eyeing a total in the region of 180-200, had two new batsmen at the crease, the ESPN summed up.