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Mendis the hero as Sri Lanka squeaks home

West Indies fights back after Dilshan heroics but host holds nerve to eke out one-wicket win in thriller

Mendis the hero as Sri Lanka squeaks home - Cricket News
Ajantha Mendis held his nerve and chipped in with a 20-ball 21 not out to give Sri Lanka a one-wicket win via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
West Indies' bowlers fought hard to make a match of it, but Sri Lanka held its nerve to cross the line with seven balls remaining in a thrilling truncated first One-Day International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday (November 1). 
Asked to bat, West Indies rode on a 58-run partnership between Andre Russell (41) and Darren Bravo (38), and a late blitz of 36 off 13 balls from Jason Holder, the captain, to post 159 for 8 after rain forced the match to be reduced to 26 overs-a-side. 
Set a revised target of 163, Sri Lanka began superbly, Tillakaratne Dilshan laying the platform with 59 off 32 balls. But West Indies bounced back, reducing Sri Lanka from 104 for 2 to 152 for 9. Ajantha Mendis then smashed a 20-ball 21 not out to take the host to 164 for 9 in 24.5 overs for a one-wicket win via the Duckworth-Lewis method. 
Kusal Janith Perera, the wicketkeeper, and Dilshan gave Sri Lanka just the kind of start it would have hoped for as it chased what appeared a straightforward target. Perera set the tone with two boundaries off the first over, sent down by Jerome Taylor. 
Thereafter, Perera reined himself in and played second fiddle to Dilshan, who was in rampaging form. Perera contributed just 14 off 16 balls in an opening stand of 46 that came off just 4.5 overs. 
Russell was greeted with a top-edged hook for four, followed by two sixes off Dilshan's bat. West Indies had some respite, however, as Perera was run out off the next delivery. Dilshan tapped one to backward point after which the batsmen attempted a quick single. But Jonathan Carter's direct throw caught Perera short of his crease. Russell, however, had stumbled in his follow-through when Dilshan hit him for the six, and injured himself in the process. He left the field with one delivery remaining in the over and never returned to bowl. 
Dilshan continued to punish the bowlers and added 43 for the second wicket with Lahiru Thirimanne. Dilshan raised his half-century with a hook to backward square-leg off a short Holder delivery. The second-wicket stand would end in the next over when Thirimanne was guilty of driving away from his body and edging to Denesh Ramdin behind the stumps. 
West Indies then bounced back when Dilshan fell soon after, caught behind off Carlos Brathwaite. West Indies continued to chip away, with Taylor having Angelo Mathews, the captain, caught at third man. However, it was in the 19th over, bowled by Sunil Narine, that the match almost completely turned on its head, the offspinner striking three times. First, Milinda Siriwardana popped a catch to mid-on. Then, Shehan Jayasuriya, on debut, chopped one on to the stumps. And off the final delivery, Narine went through the defences of Danushka Gunathilaka, also making his ODI debut. At that stage, Sri Lanka was 133 for 7, needing another 30 runs from seven overs. 

Mendis walked in and kept Sri Lanka in the hunt, even as Carter god rid of Sachithra Senanayake and Lasith Malinga off consecutive deliveries to leave Sri Lanka nine down with 11 to get. Mendis, however, sealed the game with a six over long-on off Johnson Charles. 
Earlier, rain delayed the start of the match by over an hour. Suranga Lakmal, the right-arm pacer, then struck thrice to reduce West Indies to 24 for 3, before the rain returned to interrupt proceedings. That forced the number of overs to be cut. 
Carter was bowled by Jayasuriya, the offspinner, soon after resuming, as West Indies slipped to 42 for 4. The recovery started through a 58-run fifth-wicket partnership between Russell and Bravo. The duo's stand came off just 37 balls and put the West Indies innings back on track. 
The partnership ended when Russell was caught off Mathews. He had smashed 41 off just 24 balls in an innings that contained three sixes and as many fours. Bravo fell for 38, before late fireworks from Holder took West Indies to a good total. Holder hit 36 off 13 balls with three sixes and two boundaries as West Indies plundered 59 runs in the final five overs.

To view the full scorecard, please click here.

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