DHAKA: Sri Lanka reached the final of the World Twenty20 with a 27-run win over West Indies, the defending champions, after the first semi-final was ended by rain on Thursday.
Set a challenging 161-run target, the West Indies were well short on the Duckworth-Lewis method when a thunderstorm stopped play after 13.5 overs at the Shere Bangla stadium in Dhaka.
West Indies, who would have needed 108 to win on the D/L method, were 80-4 when play was halted.
The win was sweet revenge for Sri Lanka who lost the 2012 final in Colombo to the West Indies. Sri Lanka will face the winners of the second semi-final between 2007 champions India and South Africa, also in Dhaka on Friday.
The final will be played in Dhaka on Sunday. Lasith Malinga, leading Sri Lanka after regular captain Dinesh Chandimal opted out due to lack of form, said the rain had been a worry.
“We knew that the first six overs in their innings would be important (considering the rain) and when the rain came we knew we are ahead of them,” said Malinga.
“We had the confidence in our bowlers to defend that total,” added Malinga. “Everyone is looking forward to the final and we are not thinking of anything else than to improve our performance in every match.” West Indian captain Darren Sammy was left disappointed.
“Credit to Sri Lanka. We have had a good run in the tournament, and it’s sad we got knocked out because of D/L. That’s life, but we got to move on and plan for the next tournament,” said Sammy.
Dwayne Bravo hit a 19-ball 30 studded with three boundaries and a six to take the fight to the Sri Lankan bowlers who took three wickets in the space of nine runs after the West Indies had reached 25-0 in the fifth over.
Spearhead Malinga dismissed dangerman Chris Gayle (three) and Dwayne Smith (17) in his second over. Malinga had figures of 2-5 in his two overs. Leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna had Lendl Simmons lbw (four) to leave the West Indies struggling at 34-3 before Bravo and Marlon Samuels (18 not out) added 43 for the fourth wicket.
Bravo was smartly caught in the deep by Mahela Jayawardene off paceman Nuwan Kulasekara and three balls later the rain arrived in the aftermath of strong winds.
When Sri Lanka batted after winning the toss, Lahiru Thirimanne top-scored with a career best 35-ball 44, Tillakaratne Dilshan made a run-a-ball 39 and Angelo Mathews a fiery 23-ball 40.
Mathews hit two sixes and three boundaries to give the innings much-needed impetus before he fell off the last delivery. Paceman Krishmar Santokie finished with two for 46 runs.
Thirimanne hit three boundaries and two sixes. Sri Lanka had raced to 41 in the fourth over thanks to Dilshan and Kusal Perera (26), before they lost three wickets in the space of 15 balls.
Perera, who hit two fours and as many sixes off 12 balls, was bowled by Santokie before Jayawardene was run out without facing a delivery. Kumar Sangakkara miscued a drive and was caught and bowled by leg-spinner Samuel Badree for one.
Dilshan and Thirimanne added 42 for the fourth wicket before Dilshan became the second batsman to be run out. He hit two boundaries and a six.