Windies destroyed by Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka secured a spot in Group B of the ICC Champions Trophy after Farveez Maharoof returned the best bowling figures in the competition’s history to inspire a nine-wicket rout of woeful West Indies.
Medium-pacer Maharoof was the unlikely destroyer of the Windies’ middle order, claiming 6-14 to help bowl them out for just 80 in 30.4 overs after his side lost the toss at Mumbai.
And, despite losing Upul Tharanga to the opening delivery of their reply, Sri Lanka cruised to their victory target, finishing 83 for one off just 13.2 overs, with opener Sanath Jayasuriya (45 not out) and captain Mahela Jayawardene (34no) the unbeaten batsmen.
The win means Sri Lanka join the group containing Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand, with West Indies facing a tougher task against England, Australia and hosts India in Group A.
After being dismissed for the second lowest total in their one-day history, the Windies’ seemingly futile attempt to win the contest got off to the best possible start when Tharanga inexplicably bottom-edged Fidel Edwards’ wide loosener onto his stumps.
More uncertainty followed as Corey Collymore was turned down in an lbw appeal to Jayasuriya, who repeated Tharanga’s mistake but got away with a lucky boundary.
However, Sri Lanka were not hanging around, with Jayasuriya scoring at almost a run a ball, as Jayawardene initially played the anchor role.
The skipper then cut loose and it it was not long before his side were celebrating one of the most one-sided victories in the competition’s history.
Earlier, Windies captain Brian Lara chose to bat first in sweltering conditions and their lot would have been much worse were it not for the efforts of Wavell Hinds.
His share of his team’s struggles was a 28 off 86 balls - hard-earned and much-needed runs as the Windies failed to recover after losing their first two wickets to the new-ball swing of Chaminda Vaas.
Chris Gayle was first to go, caught behind by a diving Kumar Sangakkara from the fourth legitimate delivery of the innings.
Vaas then worked over number three Ramnaresh Sarwan, whose three-ball stay ended with an lbw dismissal and the Windies’ second duck of the day.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul fell to the pace of Lasith Malinga. Then, after the fleeting encouragement of a 38-run fourth-wicket stand between Hinds and Lara, Maharoof clicked into gear.
His first, and most important wicket, was that of Lara who was trapped lbw - as was Dwayne Bravo for the third of four ducks at that point soon afterwards.
Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith fell to Maharoof for one run between them - leaving Lara and fellow left-hander Hinds as the only batsmen with a double-figure contribution to their names.
All that was before Sri Lankan master off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan had even entered the attack and, when he did, Maharoof upped the ante again by seeing off Carlton Baugh, the fourth lbw victim of the innings.
Maharoof also thought he had Edwards clean-bowled for a golden duck - only to be called for a marginal no-ball by umpire Asad Rauf.
But the bowler did not have to wait long to become the first player to take six wickets in the competition’s history, when Hinds lobbed a low full toss to Sanath Jayasuriya, who dived forward at cover and just managed to hold the ball before it hit the ground.
Malinga polished off what little resistance remained by bowling Edwards (four), leaving the Windies with their lowest total since being dismissed for just 54 against South Africa in January 2004.
It was also their worst score ever against Sri Lanka and the third lowest total in Champions Trophy history.