Sri Lanka on the brink of ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals after nine-wicket win over West Indies
Last Updated: 29/09/12 6:50pm
Mahela Jayawardene: Top scored with unbeaten 65 from 49 balls
Sri Lanka moved a step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20 after a crushing nine-wicket victory over West Indies in Pallekele.
The host nation have now won both of their matches so far in the Super Eights stage and have a significantly better net run rate than the other three teams in Group 1.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was the star of the show with an unbeaten 65 as Sri Lanka chased down a target of 130 with 28 balls to spare.
Marlon Samuels (50) and Dwayne Bravo (40) led the way as the Windies compiled a total of 129-5 after winning the toss and electing to bat.
West Indies are now level with England on two points, two behind Sri Lanka and two ahead of New Zealand with all four teams still in contention to reach the last four with one round of games remaining.
Opener Jayawardene always had the run chase under control as he struck a 45-ball half-century containing eight fours and eventually registered 11 boundaries in his final total.
He shared an unbroken century stand with Kumar Sangakkara, who finished on an unbeaten 39 from 34 deliveries to bring the victory home with ease.
Darren Sammy had earlier unsurprisingly chose to bat first on an awkward, used surface. Skilful seamer Nuwan Kulasekera conceded only seven runs in his first three overs, but 21 to Samuels and Andre Russell (19 not out) when he came back for his last.
However, his contribution overall was a positive one as he picked up the key wicket of Chris Gayle for just two when the West Indies' dangerman edged behind as he chased an attempted cut at a wide ball.
Number three Samuels bided his time in a stand of 65 with Bravo as Ajantha Mendis continued to make life difficult and returned figures of 2-12 in favourable conditions for his brand of slow bowling.
Samuels upped the ante in the later overs - apart from the penultimate, in which Lasith Malinga proved tough to get away - to complete a 34-ball half-century containing four fours and two sixes.
One of those maximums was a straight one off Kulasekera which carried more than 100 metres to become the biggest hit of the tournament so far.
But Samuels and his team must hope they have more than that to celebrate when they return to the same venue on Monday to face New Zealand in a bid to secure a place in the last four.