The T20 World Cup is just months away, and teams are, therefore, busy trying to get their best possible XI in place before the tournament. With this competition in mind, the dominant West Indies tested their team against a young and inexperienced Sri Lankan team in a two-match T20I series in Sri Lanka.
The first match was played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka, where the West Indies won by 25 runs with Oshane Thomas named Man of the Match.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Lendl Simmons provided West Indies with a good and positive start. Simmons went on to put up a fifty-score followed by quick thirties by Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard. Pollard got his 10,000th T20 run in his 500th T20 match after playing his first match back in 2006.
Sri Lanka started their chase in not the best possible manner, losing their first wicket in the 2nd over. Oshane Thomas, playing in just his 11th T20I, put on a show. The 23-year old went on to pick up his first five-wicket haul claiming 5 for 28 in only three overs, thus restricting the hosts to 56 for 5 in a mere six overs.
It was only a matter of time before the Windies romp home to victory. Kusal Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga fought for Sri Lanka, giving them hope, but in the end, the Sri Lankans lost all their wickets 25 runs short of the target.
The second match was played at the same venue with the West Indies once again proving too good for the Sri Lankans. The visiting team won by seven wickets with Andre Russell named man of the match.
West Indies again won the toss, but this time decided to field first. Once again, it was the start which the Sri Lankans were not hoping for. Oshane Thomas carried his form from the last game removing Avishka Fernando with a beautiful ball delivered at148 km/h.
The innings stalled quickly as the hosts found themselves in trouble. However, they managed to reach 155 for six courtesy of 31 from Dasun Shanaka and a couple of twenties from Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera.
In the reply, West Indies proved too hot to handle for the hosts. Despite losing Lendl Simmons, Brandon King and Shimron Hetmyer made 43 each before the big-hitting DreRuss finish things off with 40 off 14 balls, including 6 sixes. Andre Russell was judged man of the match and series.
Performers of the Series:
Oshane Thomas: 6 wickets
Andre Russell: 75 runs and one wicket
Lendl Simmons: 76 runs
Kusal Perera: 81 runs
Wanindu Hasaranga: 52 runs and one wicket
T20 World Cup 2020
Unfortunately, the 2014 champions will have to play an additional round to progress to the Super 12 stage. This is because, at the time of qualification, they were positioned lower than Afghanistan, so as a result, the Afghans make a direct entry to the Super 12 stage, and Sri Lanka will have to play the qualifier round. They are placed with Ireland, Oman and Papua New Guinea in the group. Sri Lanka will play its first match against Ireland at Kardinia Park, Geelong, on 18th October 2020.
West Indies is placed with Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and two qualifiers. They will open their campaign against New Zealand at MCG at Melbourne on 25th October 2020.
Sri Lanka needs to improve things big time. They are not performing well. Their last four series results are:
Win against Pakistan 3-0
Lost to Australia 0-3
Lost to India 0-3
Lost to West Indies 0-2
They don’t have many games to play before the T20 World Cup. They need their big and experienced players, Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, to step up their game and must lead the team from the front.
West Indies must step up their game also if they want to be in the reckoning. Their last four series results are:
Lost to Afghanistan 2-1
Lost to India 2-1
Drew against Ireland 1-1
Win against Sri Lanka 2-0
West Indies are due to play against New Zealand and South Africa later this year before the start of the T20 World Cup. With the likes of Simmons, Russell, Pollard, Bravo in their side, they have plenty of match winners. West Indies are the defending champions, and they will have to bring out their best game to defend their title.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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