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Monday, April 02, 2007

Sri Lanka win easily and diminish West Indies' chances of making semi-finals

After winning the toss West Indies chose to send Sri Lanka in. This turned out to be yet another unwise decision, as the Lankans, with Sanith Jayasuriya jumping out of the blocks with a rapid 115/101b (10x4, 4x6) and Mahela Jayawardene contributing a relatively placid 82/113b, amassed 5/303.

The West Indies reply started, as it needed to, positively but the openers were both out by the time the total reached 40 and then Brian Lara, their great, if not last, hope, was stumped by Kumar Sangakkara standing up to W. P. U. J. Chaminda Vaas, his first stumping dismissal in a lifetime of bowling (Cricinfo has a photoof this). Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul stopped a further slide but couldn't accelerate enough to keep their team, with its unreliable lower order, in touch with the required run rate. Sarwan was out at 134 in the 35th over for 44/68b, three others followed in swift succession trying to force the pace, and at 173 in the 42nd over Chanderpaul was out for 76/110b. The rest of the game was a formality: Sri Lanka won convincingly by 113 runs with 33 balls to spare.


West Indies are now in even more danger of missing the semi-finals, which will be a disappointment to their supporters who, judging from the highlights shown on tonight's TV news, turned out in some force at Providence Stadium in Guyana.

Sri Lanka continue to look good and must fancy themselves to make the final. They have a well balanced team and everyone is in at least reasonable form, though whether Jayasuriya or Vaas can reproduce today's performances against Australia or South Africa or even England, is a moot point.
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