Sri Lanka weathered a middle-order revival by the West Indies and held on for a 39-run win on the Duckworth-Lewis Scoring Method in a rain-affected 5th match of the Tri-Country. Sangakkara crafted a superb, unbeaten 90 to lift the visitors to a spirited 219 for 8 in a match forced into the reserve day because of the elements and reduced to 41 overs-per-side.
Half-centuries by Darren Bravo (70) and Lendl Simmons (67) then threatened to take the home team to a revised target of 230 before a sense of speed in the midst of light rain and the cooler heads of the Sri Lankans saw the West Indies controlled to 190 for nine in reply.
While the result pushes Sri Lanka to the top of the standings ahead of the West Indian side by virtue of a better net run-rate, a win for India over Angelo Mathew’s team in the last preliminary match on Tuesday will result in the calculators again being deployed to determine the qualifiers for Thursday final.
Sangakkara claimed the Man-of-the-Match award for his brilliant innings, but Mathews also made vital contributions with bat and ball in ensuring his side avenged the 6-wicket defeat suffered at the hands of the West Indies in the opening match of the series in Kingston 10 days earlier.
His 30 off 27 balls gave the innings main impetus towards the end and figures of four for 29, including the vital scalp of Chris Gayle at the start of the West Indies chase, proved critical in completing win. Chris Gayle is demise triggered a slide with the West Indies reduced to 31 for four and seemingly out of contention.
However, Bravo found a solid partner in Lendl Simmons, the man drafted into the team as a substitute for suspended regular skipper Dwayne Bravo. After a pedestrian start, the pair accelerated excitingly and was lifting the West Indies to within reach of the target when a loss of concentration tilted the balance decisively.
K Sangakkara (†)-90(95)
A Mathews (C)-30(27)
West Indies: 190/9 (41)
L Simmons -67(78)
Player Of the match