Resilient Windies stun Sri Lanka
Marlon Samuels’ six-laden 78 proved key as West Indies recovered from a truly abysmal start to claim World Twenty20 glory at the expense of hosts Sri Lanka.
After winning the toss, the Windies laboured to 39 for two after 11 overs, with Samuels having been dropped on 20 by Nuwan Kulasekara at long-off.
The number three made Sri Lanka pay thereafter, smiting half a dozen maximums in a terrific counter-attacking innings that lifted West Indies to 137 for six, despite Ajantha Mendis’ superb return of 4-12.
On a seemingly good pitch, that total still appeared unlikely to be enough, yet Mahela Jayawardene’s side then fell victim to a remarkable mid-innings collapse, which saw six wickets fall for the addition of 21 runs.
Sri Lanka were eventually bowled out for 101 in the penultimate over, with the last of Sunil Narine’s three wickets sparking joyous celebrations from Darren Sammy and Co.
Talk of West Indies’ powerful batting line-up had dominated the build-up to this match, yet it was Sri Lanka who initially seized control as boundaries proved almost impossible to come by.
Angelo Mathews had Johnson Charles caught at mid-off in an opening wicket-maiden and only 14 were on the board by the time Chris Gayle, the most feared batsman in this format of the game, fell lbw to Mendis in the sixth over, having faced 16 deliveries for his three.
A key moment followed when Samuels got a leading edge off Jeevan Mendis, only to see Nuwan Kulasekara fail to hold on after dashing around the boundary.
Lasith Malinga, who finished with 0-54, was subsequently taken for five sixes, one courtesy of a monstrous blow over long-on, as Samuels launched a magnificent solo rescue act.
Undaunted by a lack of support, he demonstrated immense power and a wide range of strokes to lift West Indies out of the mire.
Amid the carnage, Ajantha Mendis - bowling straight throughout - struck three times in four balls to account for Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, while Samuels was finally ousted in the 18th over as he pulled Akila Dananjaya, recalled at the expense of Rangana Herath, to deep midwicket.
Some impressive late hitting from Sammy provided the Windies with further momentum, however, and 99 came from the final nine overs.
Sri Lanka were dealt an early blow in reply as Ravi Rampaul produced a beauty to remove Tillakaratne Dilshan’s off stump.
The classy Jayawardene, a reliable performer throughout the tournament, was dropped twice in the deep, but it soon mattered little as the innings went into meltdown.
After Kumar Sangakkara had holed out off Samuel Badree to fall for 22, Mathews was bowled by Sammy attempting a scoop over fine-leg and Sri Lanka’s captain reverse-swept Narine to his opposite number at point.
Two catastrophic run-outs left an expectant crowd shaking their heads in bewilderment and Lahiru Thirimanne was then caught at long-on to give Sammy a second scalp.
Kulasekara did his best to provide renewed hope, thumping four successive boundaries as 22 came from the 16th over, but Sri Lanka had left themselves with far too much to do.
Narine ended Kulasekara’s cameo and Samuels then chipped in with the wicket of Ajantha Mendis before Malinga was dismissed to bring proceedings to an end with eight deliveries unused.
Live Text Commentary
Sri Lanka Innings
5:41pm - END OF MATCH - SRI LANKA 101 ALL OUT - WEST INDIES WIN BY 36 RUNS!!! - It’s all over! Lasith Malinga holes out off Sunil Narine and West Indies are the World Twenty20 champions! A stunning performance from a side who looked to be in disarray midway through their innings.
5:37pm - WICKET! A Mendis c Bravo b Samuels 1; SL 100/9 - Samuels is at the centre of an extravagant dance routine after Mendis picks out Bravo in the deep. One wicket needed ...
5:31pm - WICKET! Kulasekara c Badree b Narine 26; SL 96/8 - Kulasekara’s cameo is brought to an end as he picks out deep point. West Indies are almost there, and we could be about to see quite the celebration.
5:28pm - Nuwan Kulasekara hammers Rampaul over cow corner for six before pulling and cutting for four. The latter boundary came off a no-ball and the resulting free-hit also disappears to the fence as Samuels mis-fields at third man. Are we about to witness another comeback? Four overs remain and Sri Lanka require 44.
5:18pm - WICKET! Thirimanne c Charles b Sammy 4; 69/7 - The best thing you can say about this is that it was not another run-out. Lahiru Thirimanne attempts to smite Sammy over long-on, but fails. Six wickets have now fallen for 21.
5:12pm - WICKET! Perera run out (Ramdin) 3; SL 64/6 - This is ridiculous. Perera takes on a crazy single after dropping the ball into the leg side and is run out by Denesh Ramdin’s direct hit. There is shock and amazement among the home fans in the Premadasa Stadium.
5:08pm - WICKET! J Mendis run out (Bravo) 3; SL 61/5 - Sri Lanka are now in full-on self-destruct mode! A catastrophic piece of running sees Jeevan Mendis depart. Bravo put in the throw to the non-striker’s end from long-on after initially fumbling the ball.
5:05pm - WICKET! Jayawardene c Sammy b Narine 33; SL 60/4 - West Indies strike again. Jayawardene, seemingly distracted by the precipitation, attempts to reverse-sweep Narine and picks out Sammy at point. What a turnaround!
5:02pm - Both teams are checking the Duckworth-Lewis par totals as the drizzle continues. At the moment, West Indies are some way ahead. Goodness me, Jayawardene has been dropped again. Andre Russell is the man at fault on this occasion, failing to hold on as he charged in from long-on.
4:56pm - WICKET! Mathews b Sammy 1; SL 51/3 - My oh my, Sri Lanka are making a mess of this! Sammy strikes in his first over to send back Angelo Mathews, who was bowled attempting to scoop a slower ball over short fine-leg. To make things worse for Sri Lanka, light rain has started to fall in Colombo.
4:50pm - WICKET! Sangakkara c Pollard b Badree 22; SL 48/2 - West Indies needed another wicket, and now they have one! Sangakkara has rather thrown it away by pulling Badree to Pollard, who took a fine diving catch in the deep. Still 90 needed from 63 balls.
4:48pm - And now we have Sunil Narine - West Indies’ trump card on so many occasions. His first two deliveries spin sharply past the edge of Sangakkara, but a second wicket continues to elude the men from the Caribbean. With the required rate rising, Sangakkara gives himself room and thumps Gayle over cover for four.
4:40pm - Sangakkara has yet to settle and survives a half-hearted appeal for caught behind after missing a pull off Rampaul. Gayle is duly introduced. I wonder if he can make an impact with the ball after failing so badly with the bat? His first over yields six.
4:32pm - If there is a man you do not want to drop, it is Jayawardene. The in-form opener cuts a loose delivery from Badree for four and will be determined to make the most of his let-off. After five overs, Sri Lanka are 26 for one.
4:24pm - DROPPED CATCH - Rampaul almost strikes again as new batsman Kumar Sangakkara edges wide of the solitary slip for four. A potentially pivotal moment follows when Marlon Samuels, West Indies’ saviour with the bat, has Jayawardene dropped by Dwayne Bravo. To be fair to the fielder, it was a very difficult chance as he raced in from the boundary in an attempt to take a premeditated sweep.
4:16pm - WICKET! Dilshan b Rampaul 0; SL 6/1 - Samuel Badree is handed the new ball by Darren Sammy. Jayawardene dabs the leg-spinner past short third man to collect four, but there’s a breakthrough at the start of the next over as Dilshan loses his off stump to a beauty from Ravi Rampaul. Game on? Possibly ...
4:10pm - Sri Lanka have a wonderful chance to secure glory on home soil. Their chase begins with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene in occupation. Early wickets are a must for West Indies.
West Indies Innings
4pm - END OF INNINGS - WI 137/6; Sammy 26 not out - Malinga is taken for 10 in the penultimate over and finishes with 0-54. I doubt anyone saw that coming! The Windies then scramble 15 more from the final set of six and have done extremely well to reach 137. Despite that, you have to feel Sri Lanka are strong favourites.
3:47pm - WICKET! Samuels c J Mendis b Dananjaya 78; WI 108/6 - A special knock from Samuels comes to an end as he pulls Dananjaya to deep midwicket. Without him, West Indies would already be dead and buried here. As it is, they still have a sniff, although they could do with a spectacular finish to the innings.
3:45pm - No hat-trick for Mendis, who nevertheless finishes with 4-12 from four. A stunning performance. Malinga has proven surprisingly expensive and is taken for back-to-back sixes by Samuels, who hooks over fine-leg before clearing long-on with a monstrous 108m maximum! Samuels now has 78 out of 108 for five and we have three overs remaining.
3:37pm – WICKETS! - Pollard c Dananjaya b A Mendis 2; Russell lbw A Mendis 0; WI 87/5 - Ajantha Mendis picks up his third scalp when Dananjaya holds on to a catch at backward point at the second attempt to dismiss Pollard. And now he’s on a hat-trick! Andre Russell is lbw on the sweep first ball!
3:34pm - FIFTY! Samuels (46b 1x4 4x6) - Kulasekara’s earlier drop is looking increasingly costly as Samuels brings up his half-century with another six, this time over long-on off Jeevan Mendis. The number three has done his best to lift West Indies out of the mire, but will it be enough?
3:29pm - WICKET! Bravo lbw A Mendis 19; WI 73/3 - The return of Ajantha Mendis enables Sri Lanka to regain control. Bravo is pinned in front by the spinner, the ball having seemingly brushed the pad before striking bat, and Kieron Pollard walks out with 73 on the board and six overs remaining.
3:25pm - Dwayne Bravo hoists Dananjaya high over midwicket for six! We will need a few more of those if West Indies are to set any sort of target. Hang on, there’s three more! Samuels somehow flicks a full delivery from Malinga beyond the ropes at square-leg before opening up to flay the next delivery over cover. The 13th over is then brought to an end by another Samuels maximum, this time over long-on.
3:17pm – DROPPED CATCH - Kulasekara spurns an opportunity to remove Samuels. A leading edge off Jeevan Mendis flew down to long-off, but the fielder was unable to hold on as he moved to his right. Remarkably, we have still seen only one four in the innings!
3:15pm - Samuels looks to be in decent nick, but two pieces of fine fielding in the deep prevent him from adding to the boundary count. Akila Dananjaya comes on to bowl the 10th over, which ends with the batting side having scored a mere 32.
3:08pm – After finishing the powerplay on a measly 14 for two, West Indies need to get things moving here, and fast. Dwayne Bravo has joined Samuels in the middle, but we have still seen just the one boundary. Sri Lanka will be more than delighted.
3pm – WICKET! Gayle lbw A Mendis 3; WI 14/2 - Our first sighting of spin comes with the introduction of Ajantha Mendis. Gayle survives another lbw appeal, but his luck runs out when Mendis strikes him on the pad once more with one that went straight on. To say that innings, which brought three from 16 deliveries, was an anti-climax would be a huge understatement.
2:55pm - That’s more like it. Samuels crashes Kulasekara through the covers to pick up four. Gayle is then struck on the pad, prompting a huge appeal, but umpire Simon Taufel correctly rules that the ball had pitched outside leg stump. Gayle is really struggling out there and things get no easier as Lasith Malinga replaces Mathews. Five overs gone and it’s 12 for one.
2:45pm - West Indies finally pick up their first run from the fourth ball of the second over as Nuwan Kulasekara delivers a leg-side wide. Chris Gayle then advances, but is beaten outside off by appreciable swing. Mathews continues to operate with discipline and also sends one past Gayle’s edge after seeing an lbw shout against Marlon Samuels turned down. After three overs, the Windies have scored just two. Not the explosive start I expected.
2:37pm - WICKET! Charles c Kulasekara b Mathews 0; WI 0/1 - Sri Lanka could not have asked for a better start. Johnson Charles takes strike to Angelo Mathews and faces four dot balls before popping up a simple catch to mid-off. I’m really not sure what sort of shot Charles was looking to play there. The bowler duly completes a wicket-maiden.
2:30pm - The anthems have taken place and we are ready to go. Over to you, Christopher Henry Gayle...
2:20pm - Marlon Samuels has just given a wonderful interview to former England captain Nasser Hussain on Sky Sports. If he is nervous, it certainly did not show as he discussed the partying that will take place should the Windies prevail. Not long now until the match gets under way.
2:10pm - Sri Lanka’s decision to leave out Herath may well have been made with Gayle in mind. The left-hander simply loves hitting with the spin through the leg side, but may find that a little more difficult against the unpredictable Dananjaya, who is capable of beating either side of the bat.
2:03pm - WEST INDIES WIN TOSS AND BAT - Good news for fans of Chris Gayle - you won’t have to wait long to see the powerful opener in action. Darren Sammy (surely the most likeable man in cricket?) calls correctly and chooses to make first use of the pitch. Not surprisingly, West Indies are unchanged, while Sri Lanka have recalled Akila Dananjaya at the expense of fellow spinner Rangana Herath, who must be disappointed after claiming three wickets to help his side to the final.
2pm - West Indies were utterly brilliant in their semi-final destruction of Australia. However, they were comprehensively beaten by Sri Lanka in the Super Eight phase of this competition and will need to improve on that display today. The toss is about to take place at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium.
1:55pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live coverage of the 2012 World Twenty20 final. England women were narrowly beaten by their Australian counterparts in the preceding match. Now it is the turn of host nation Sri Lanka and West Indies to do battle for the men’s trophy. This promises to be a cracker.