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Samuels leads WI to T20 glory


COLOMBO — Marlon Samuels struck a crucial half-century to lead West Indies to the ICC World Twenty20 Trophy after a 36-run win over Sri Lanka in the final at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.

Report by Supersport
Samuels blasted his way to 78 off 56 balls with three fours and six sixes, a vital contribution in a low-scoring cricket match, as West Indies posted 137 for six with spinner Ajantha Mendis claiming 4-12 off four overs.

Sri Lanka never looked in the hunt with the bat as they collapsed to 101 all out in 18.4 overs with off-spinner Sunil Narine picking up 3-9 off 3,4 overs.

The fact that West Indies were even able to get to their final total was something of a triumph after they had battled their way to 32-2 after 10 overs.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bat on a slow pitch but they were tied down by some wonderful bowling from Sri Lanka with the bowlers hardly bowling a bad ball during the opening exchanges.

The men from the Caribbean stumbled to 14 for two in the sixth over with Johnson Charles (0) and Chris Gayle (3) both out cheaply.

Samuels and Dwayne Bravo tried the repair the damage with a third-wicket partnership that produced 59 runs in 8,1 overs before Bravo (19) was trapped leg-before by Mendis.

West Indies looked out of the match, but Samuels launched a superb counter-attack which included hitting three sixes off an over from paceman Lasith Malinga as he reached his half-century off 46 deliveries.

Mendis then struck twice in two balls when he had Kieron Pollard (2) caught at backward point and trapped Andre Russell (0) leg-before.

Samuels was finally dismissed in the 18th over when he holed out to deep midwicket off a delivery from spinner Akila Dananjaya.

Darren Sammy (26 not out) then struck three fours to provide the innings with some late impetus as West Indies scored 50 runs off the last five overs of their innings.  Sri Lanka made a slow start to their innings with the fast-scoring Tillakaratne Dilshan (0) bowled by a superb delivery from paceman Ravi Rampaul which jagged off the pitch to pin back the right-handed batsman’s off stump.

Most of Sri Lanka’s hopes rested on the shoulders of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara (22) and the pair seemed to be in control as they added 42 runs for the second wicket.

But Sangakkara was caught at deep midwicket off the bowling of leg-spinner Samuel Badree while Jayawardene, who top-scored for the hosts with 33, was the fourth man out when he mis-timed a reverse sweep off Narine and was caught at point.

Sri Lanka suffered a horrendous middle-order collapse as they lost six wickets for the addition of just 21 runs before Nuwan Kulasekara bashed his way to 26 off 13 balls.

But when Kulasekara was caught at deep cover off Narine in the 17th over the end was in sight for Sri Lanka.

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