Chris Gayle’s batting woes continued as defending champions West Indies failed to defeat inexperienced Sri Lanka, which ended their slim chance of reaching the ICC T20 World Cup semi-finals.
The 42-year-old, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen to have played T20 cricket and the leading run scorer for the West Indies in T20I’s, went cheaply yet again with a knock of just one as they chased Sri Lanka’s 189-3 in Dubai today (4 November).
Jamaica’s aggressive batsman lasted just five balls inside the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, caught by Wanindu Hasaranga off the bowling of Binura Fernando to take his tally to only 30 runs from four T20 World Cup innings.
The Windies, who began the day with one win from their opening three matches, needed to register back-to-back victories against Sri Lanka and Australia (6 November) to stand any chance of reaching the semi-final stage.
However, overall they crumpled under pressure until Guyana’s Shimron Hetmyer took the innings by the scruff of the neck with his marvellous unbeaten 81 to help guide them shy of the target to finish on 169-8.
Hetmyer only had support from one player, Trinidad’s Nicholas Pooran who hit a quickfire 46, but had Gayle lived up to expectations then victory would surely have been grasped.
Howeverm the Windies taste their third defeat in four games and had themselves to blame after Sri Lanka’s openers Pathum Nissanka (51) and Kusal Perera (29) were given easy chances to pile on the runs. Andre Russell broke the 42-run partnership in the sixth over to end the one-way traffic.
Charith Asalanka took centre stage and Nissanka was sent back to the pavilion, caught by on the boundary by Hetmyer off Dwayne Bravo with the score at 133-2 off 15.3 overs.
In-form Asalanka stroked the ball around with confidence but fell for 68 off 41 deliveries, as Russell grabbed his second wicket with the rising star caught by Hetmyer to take the total to 179-3 off 18.4 overs.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka smashed an unbeaten 22 from 13 deliveries to help Sri Lanka notch their highest total of the tournament in their final game, which set the Windies a tough ask.
The West Indies, the two-time T20 World Cup winners, revived their campaign in their last match with a thrilling last ball three-run triumph over Bangladesh following hefty defeats to England and South Africa.
But against Sri Lanka once more they were unable to address their batting frailties, suffering cheap early wickets with Hetmyer and Pooran their sole shining lights with the bat despite a strong batting line up named.
Binura captured the two openers, Gayle caught by Hasaranga at mid-off and Evin Lewis (8) clean bowled to leave the score at 10-2. And the dismissal of Roston Chase (9) saw the Windies in deep trouble at 47-3.
Pooran was twice dropped before returning to the pavilion with a swashbuckling 46 off 34 balls. He was caught by substitute Dhananjaya de Silva off Dushmantha Chameera, but once he was gone it left the Windies in tatters at 77-4 from 11.1 overs.
Yet Hetmyer became the hero and proved resilient at the crease, while losing partners Russell (2) then skipper Kieron Pollard suffering a golden duck.
Jason Holder arrived in the middle at 107-6, with the Windies left with five overs to score 80 wins to secure success and avoid elimination from the competition.
But the former captain was brilliantly caught deep for eight runs by Chamika Karunaratne off Dasun Shanaka as the Windies were left staring at defeat at 117-7.
Bravo went for two to leave the Windies out of the equation at 131-8. Akeal Hosein finished on one not out but it was credit to hard-hitting Hetmyer in the middle who clattered 81 from 54 balls as they completed the innings to finish with a creditable 169-8.
Saturday’s encounter against Australia will now be about finishing the tournament with aplomb, but the reigning champions have been shambolic overall in all departments in this competition with poor fielding, batting and bowling.
The Windies look like a creaky, ageing team that are in urgent need of bringing in fresh faces, as in each game only one or two players lived up to their billing with the bat.
There will no doubt be plenty of changes as the Windies can no longer rely on their glory days of including such superstars as Gayle if they wish to make any impact when England visit the Caribbean for what now seems like a tough five T20I series in January.
Sri Lanka beat West Indies beat by 20 runs
Sri Lanka 189-3 (20 overs)
WI 169-8 (20 overs)
6 November | WI v Australia
29 October | WI beat Bangladesh by three runs
WI 142-7 (20 overs)
Bangladesh 139-5 (20 overs)
26 October | South Africa beat WI by eight wickets
WI 143-8 (20 overs)
SA 144-2 (18.2 overs)
23 October | England beat WI by six wickets
WI 55 all out (14.2 overs)
England 56-4 (8.2 overs)
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