Rain a divine blessing for Jayawardene and Sangakkara: Sammy

Dhaka, April 4 (IANS/CMC) West Indies captain Darren Sammy has rued his side’s missed chance at retaining their World Twenty20 title, but tossed up the idea that the manner of defeat may have been part of a divine plan.

The Caribbean side went down to Sri Lanka Thursday by 27 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis system, after a fearsome rain and hail storm washed out the first semi-final, reports CMC.

The West Indies were 80 for four in the 14th over, needing to reach 161 for victory but were well behind their DL par score of 108 when the match ended.

With Sri Lankan legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara set to quit T20 Internationals following this tournament, Sammy suggested the washout may have been divinely designed to allow them to retire with a World Cup triumph.

“We’re a praying team. God normally answers our prayers. Today (there were) two gentlemen who have played for Sri Lanka and have given a lot, not only to Sri Lanka but to cricket as a whole, so I guess the Almighty wants them to leave on a high,” Sammy mused.

“They have one more game to try and win a World Cup and leave on a high. Probably that’s the reason why God put a hand in this match. I’m sure I will have another shot at (winning) the T20 World Cup and we look forward to winning it again in the near future.”

Both Jayawardene and Sangakkara have experienced repeated disappointment in recent years as Sri Lanka have found themselves on the losing end of limited overs finals.

They lost the final of the 2012 T20 World Cup to West Indies, and were also at the losing end of the 2009 final in London. They were also beaten in the final of the 50-over World Cup by India in 2011 and went down in the 2007 edition in the Caribbean to Australia.

Sammy said while his side was disappointed, they would rebound from the defeat and look ahead to the next T20 World Cup.

“It’s disappointing to come out of the tournament like this but credit to Sri Lanka, they won the toss and they batted first,” Sammy told reporters.

“They probably knew some rain was around but we’ve had a good run in this tournament but it’s just sad we got knocked out by the Duckworth/Lewis system. But that’s life, you move on and we will start planning for the next T20 World Cup.”

The West Indies paid dearly for their sluggish start, as Dwayne Smith (17) and Chris Gayle (3), struggled to get the ball away and allowed the Sri Lankan bowlers to build pressure.

Marlon Samuels managed just 18 not out from 29 balls and since only Dwayne Bravo, with 30 from 19 balls, showed any attacking intent, the West Indies were left requiring nearly 13 an over to win the game.

“Gayle and Smith they have a very clear idea of how they want to play. In the first over, I thought we were off to a flyer but they brought on the off-spinner (Sachithra Senanayake) and (Lasith) Malinga, who bowled really well at Gayle and Smith so we were behind the eight ball,” Sammy pointed out.

“And just when Bravo looked like picking it up like he did in the last game, he got out but we still had the belief that we could get 12 runs an over for the last six, seven overs. We’ve been doing that in this tournament. It’s just disappointing and there is nothing you can do about it.”

Batting first, Sri Lanka rattled up 160 for six off their 20 overs, with Lahiru Thirimanne top scoring with 44 from 35 deliveries while Angelo Matthews slamming 40 from 23 balls, to give Sri Lanka momentum late in the innings.

Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan struck a run-a-ball 39 while his partner Kusal Perera scored 26 from 12 balls, to give Sri Lanka a flying start of 41 for one after just four overs.

“Whenever we bowl first, we try to restrict teams to 150 or thereabouts. I think they were off to a flyer in the first three overs…but we did well to peg them back,” Sammy said.

“They got a few more runs than we expected at the back end. Today was just one of those days. Sri Lanka played well.”

Sammy’s counterpart Lasith Malinga said even though there was a rain forecast, he didn’t think they would win the match the way they did.

“We weren`t looking for rain, we were only looking to a win. We were trying to get the batsmen out. We got a good start before losing our way in the middle, but Angelo (Mathews) played very well to push it to 160.

“Before the rain we knew they were behind us and we just wanted to stay ahead of them on run rate,” Malinga said.

On Sunday’s final, he said: “Everyone is looking forward to the big game. We don`t have much pressure and we are not thinking about our opponents. We are just thinking about how to improve our own game.”

Man of the Match Angelo Mathews said with 160 on the board, they backed themselves.

“After the first half we got to know that there was a chance of rain, but we didn`t play to that. We knew they had some big hitters. Lasith then had those two strikes to get us back. With 160 we knew we had the bowling for it,” he said.

–IANS/CMC

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IANS