Cricket World Cup matchday 32: Sri Lanka too good for West Indies
Avishka Fernando’s 104 trumps Nicholas Pooran’s 118 in front of Rihanna at Chester-le-Street.
Avishka Fernando’s 104 trumped Nicholas Pooran’s 118 as Sri Lanka held on for a tense 23-run victory over the West Indies in front of watching pop star Rihanna at Chester-le-Street.
The Barbadian songstress was a surprise spectator in the north-east and her presence brought out the best of Pooran, who nearly doubled his previous highest one-day international score of 63 with a fearless innings.
His dismissal with 31 still required ended the Windies’ hopes of a World Cup record chase, while Fernando’s maiden ODI century underpinned Sri Lanka’s 338 for six in what was officially the tournament’s first dead rubber.
Tweet of the day
The Windies’ hopes of semi-final qualification may have gone up in smoke long ago but that was a minor detail for one of the pop world’s biggest sensations. There was quite the buzz around the place when it was confirmed – after rumours doing the rounds for a couple of hours – that Rihanna was indeed at Chester-le-Street. For a period afterwards, the ground DJ paid homage to the Barbadian by blasting out some of her renowned hits during gaps in play.
Top of the shots
Sri Lanka were on course for a thumping win when the Windies slipped to 84 for four chasing a World Cup record 339, but Pooran’s never-say-die attitude ensured the match went right to the wire. His 103-ball innings contained 11 fours and four sixes, the best of them a swivel pull off Isuru Udana in the 45th over which lowered the equation to 47 from the final 30 balls by the end of the over. It was not to be but it was nevertheless a day to remember for Pooran.
Windies captain Jason Holder insisted there was “pride to play for” despite their semi-final hopes being long gone. However, their performance in the field made a mockery of that utterance, with no-balls, dropped catches, fumbles and general ineptitude punctuating Sri Lanka’s innings. Holder did at least make an impression as he castled Angelo Mathews with a fine yorker, the batsman beaten all ends up after advancing down the track.
Catch of the day
Fabian Allen was approaching 300 deliveries in ODIs with only one wicket to show for his efforts but his second scalp owed more to his athletic attributes and fast reflexes than it did his bowling. Kusal Mendis was unable to take advantage of a low full toss, merely bunting in the air back down the ground. Allen, though, reacted quickly, flinging himself through the air and plucking the ball with a one-handed grab.