A masterful century from Avishka Fernando took Sri Lanka to 338, with the day, decent knocks from Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne. This win takes the Lankans above Bangladesh to 6th in the points table, with 8 points. However, they cannot qualify even if they beat India on Saturday.
Nicholas Pooran then took the mantle upon himself and with 31 needed from the last 3 overs, Karunartane had to decide whom should he turn to, to bowl 2 remaining overs of the fifth bowler.
He went with his most experienced player – Angelo Mathews. The bloke, who had not bowled since December 2017, struck gold on his very first ball, getting Pooran dismissed. Malinga was the chief destroyer, with 3 wickets while the others, though not wicket-taking, were decent.
Pooran was involved in three successive 50-run stands, first with Holder, then Brathwaite and finally Allen. Surprisingly all the partnerships ended in a run-out. Of all the three stands, it was the Pooran-Allen stand which injected some momentum into the chase.
The 83-run stand came in just 58 balls and at that time, it seemed like West Indies had a chance. But his run out once again changed the tempo.
A close finish in the end. The run chase looked dead and buried in the 35th over when Carlos Brathwaite got out but Nicholas Pooran almost single-handedly took his side home. Have to feel for the youngster but had he received some more support from the other end, the West Indies might have ended on the right side.
Dimuth Karunaratne | Sri Lankan captain:
Says that these kinds of wins build a huge amount of confidence. Admits that in the earlier games, they put pressure on themselves and hence committed mistakes. In this one, he agrees that they played freely due to lack of pressure. Praises Avishka Fernando and wants his side to learn from him.
Admits that the SA game was a must-win one but wants his side to play freely in the next game. On the bowling, Karunaratne says that the Lankans concentrated on keeping it tight, not conceding too many runs, which resulted in a couple of run outs.
On Mathews bowling the 48th over, Dimuth says that he had to bowl 2 overs off the 5th bowler and was going to bowl one himself but says that Angelo Mathews himself came and said that he will bowl.
On the question, whether Angelo will bowl regularly, Karunaratne laughs it off, saying that he does not think Mathews will bowl much again.
Jason Holder | West Indies Captain:
Admits that the West Indies were slow off the blocks with both, bat and ball. Rues the fielding efforts throughout the effort, letting key moments slip. Feels that 338 was about par on a wicket which was slow at times. Reckons that Pooran showed that if someone spent some time at the wicket, they could bat deep.
On the Caribbeans doing well at the death with the ball. Holder praises his bowlers for coming back strongly. Tells that the team was backing itself when the Allen-Pooran stand was going on and is sad that they could not win. Agrees that this sort of play and this lot of youngsters are really promising and is happy with the attitude being shown. On their final game, Jason just wants a win through a complete performance.
AVISHKA FERNANDO | MAN OF THE Match:
He has a special translator in Kumar Sangakkara. Avishka says that when he went in, he was happy that he did what was required. Is delighted with the way they bowled and fielded and his knock has come in a winning cause. He is very happy to get the opportunities and wants to focus on developing his game.