First World Cup win since 1979
COLOMBO: West Indies were crowned the World Twenty20 champions after beating hosts Sri Lanka by 36 runs in a bowler-dominated final here on Sunday.
Sri Lanka restricted West Indies to 137 for six wickets to boost their chances of winning their maiden World Twenty20 title but the dream did not materialise as they were shot out for 101 runs.
Chasing a seemingly modest victory target, Sri Lanka were going steadily at 48 for one before their batting order caved in, partially because of their anxiousness to stay ahead of the par score in case of a rain interruption which seemed so imminent.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene (33) and Kumar Sangakkara (22) got the starts but could not carry on and only one more Sri Lankan – Nuwan Kulasekara (26) – managed double figures in an otherwise abject batting capitulation.
Spinner Sunil Narine was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, claiming 3-9 to cap his excellent run in the tournament.
Windies captain Darren Sammy won the toss but was left to rue his decision to bat first as the Sri Lankan bowlers stifled his batsmen, restricting a side teeming with big-hitters to 32-2 after 10 overs.
Spinner Ajantha Mendis (4-12) broke West Indies’ back but Marlon Samuels hit a 56-ball 78 to prove that the hosts were not really unplayable as West Indies recovered somewhat to post 137 for six. Samuels was also Man-of-the-Match.
Down the order, Sammy chipped in with an unbeaten 26 off 15 balls to give some respectability to the total.
Despite some last-minute heroics from Kulasekara, the Lankan batting was listless, ultimately leaving the home crowd heart-broken.
Sammy dedicated their triumph to fans back home and said it is a step in the “right direction” and will usher in a new beginning for cricket in the Caribbean islands.
“Thank you to everyone who supported us. The tournament is for the fans. The Caribbean people wanted this. This moment we’re going to live forever. We went through a lot in the last two years,” Sammy said at the post-match presentation ceremony here.
“I can’t say we are back but this is a step in the right direction,” he added.
Jayawardene quits T20 captaincy
Jayawardene said it was just a matter of a few overs in between which made all the difference in the end.
“I think the first 10 overs were fantastic, they knew they had to go for it. A couple of mistakes on the field and three-four bad overs shifted the momentum. It was tough for us to get into it,” Jayawardene said.
“The boys tried well but we’re disappointed we could not win in front of the crowd. Marlon batted very well.”
Jayawardene had bigger news later on when he announced that he was quitting as Sri Lankan T20 captain, hoping that someone younger can be groomed for the role. He will remain ODI and Test captain until at least December.
In a bit of an anti-climax, Shane Watson was named Man-of-the-Series after scoring 249 runs and taking 11 wickets. (Agencies)