Sammy - Last chance for Lankan stalwarts
DHAKA, Bangladesh – West Indies captain Darren Sammy on Thursday rued his side’s missed chance at retaining their World Twenty20 title but tossed up the idea that the manner of defeat may have been part of a divine plan.
The Caribbean side went down to Sri Lanka by 27 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis system, after a fearsome rain and hail storm washed out the first semi-final. West Indies were 80 for four in the 14th over, needing to reach 161 for victory but were well behind their DL par score of 108 when the match ended.
With Sri Lankan legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara set to quit T20 Internationals following this tournament, Sammy suggested the washout may have been divinely designed to allow them to retire with a World Cup triumph.
“We’re a praying team. God normally answers our prayers. Today [there were] two gentlemen who have played for Sri Lanka and have given a lot, not only to Sri Lanka but to cricket on a whole, so I guess the Almighty wants them to leave on a high,” Sammy mused.
“They have one more game to try and win a World Cup and leave on a high. Probably that’s the reason why God put a hand in this match. I’m sure I will have another shot at [winning] the T20 World Cup and we look forward to winning it again in the near future.”
Both Jayawardene and Sangakkara have experienced repeated disappointment in recent years as Sri Lanka have found themselves on the losing end of limited overs finals.
They lost the final of the 2012 T20 World Cup to West Indies, and were also on the losing end of the 2009 final in London. They were also beaten in the final of the 50-over World Cup in by India 2011 and went down in the 2007 edition in the Caribbean to Australia.
Sammy said while his side were disappointed, they would rebound from the defeat and look ahead to the next T20 World Cup.
“It’s disappointing to come out of the tournament like this but credit to Sri Lanka, they won the toss and they batted first,” Sammy told reporters.
“They probably knew some rain was around but we’ve had a good run in this tournament but it’s just sad we got knocked out by the Duckworth/Lewis system. But that’s life, you move on and we will start planning for the next T20 World Cup.”
West Indies paid dearly for their sluggish start, as Dwayne Smith (17) and Chris Gayle (3), struggling to get the ball away and allowing the Sri Lankan bowlers to build pressure.
Marlon Samuels managed just 18 not out from 29 balls and with only Dwayne Bravo, with 30 from 19 balls, showing any attacking intent, it left West Indies requiring nearly 13 an over to win the game.
“Gayle and Smith they have a very clear idea of how they want to play. In the first over I thought we were off to a flyer but they brought on the off-spinner (Sachithra Senanayake) and (Lasith) Malinga who bowled really well at Gayle and Smith so we were behind the eight-ball,” Sammy pointed out.
“And just when Bravo looked like picking it up like he did in the last game he got out but we still had the belief that we could get 12 runs an over for the last six seven overs. We’ve been doing that in this tournament. It’s just disappointing and there is nothing you can do about it.”
Batting first, Sri Lanka rattled up 160 for six off their 20 overs, with Lahiru Thirimanne top scoring with 44 from 35 deliveries while Angelo Matthews slamming 40 from 23 balls, to give Sri Lanka momentum late in the innings.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan struck a run-a-ball 39 while his partner Kusal Perera scored 26 from 12 balls, to give Sri Lanka a flying start of 41 for one after just four overs.
“Whenever we bowl first, we try to restrict teams to 150 or thereabouts. I think they were off to a flyer in the first three overs … but we did well to peg them back,” Sammy said.
“They got a few more runs than we expected at the back end. Today was just one of those days. Sri Lanka played well.”