Opener Evin Lewis’ maiden ODI ton went in vain as Sri Lanka beat West Indies in a nail-biter by one run in the tri-nation series at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Wednesday. Chasing a mammoth total of 330 to register their second win in the tournament, the West indies side off to a flying start as Johnson Charles and Lewis added 63 inside first eight over of the innings.
Charles was the first one to depart, who went on the bowling of pacer Suranga Lakmal after scoring run-a-ball 24, which included four fours and one six. Left-handed Lewis, who was playing his fourth ODI of his short career, kept scoring from one end, but kept losing partner from the other end.
The Caribbean side remained in hunt for a massive chase until the 41st over, when the 24-year-old Lewis finally departed courtesy unfortunate run out after scoring a breath taking 148 off just 122 balls, which included 15 boundaries and four massive sixes.
Even In the last three overs, Jason Holder’s men were favorites to pull off the chase as the team needed just 24 runs off 18 balls with four wickets in hand. But a fantastic 48th over from veteran pacer Nuwan Kulasekara turned the match on its head, as he picked up the important wicket of dangerous looking Carlos Brathwaite, and gave away just five runs.
With 10 needed of the last over, Sri Lankan stand-in captain Upul Tharanga gave the over to pacer Nuwan Pradeep. The 30-year-old started the over decently and gave away just a single off first two delivers, but spinner Sulieman Ben smashed a potential match-winning six over mid wicket, and left his team with just three to get on the last three balls of the match.
However, Pradeep held his nerve, and gave away just one run in the remaining deliveries to seal his side’s second win of the tournament.
For Sri Lanka, pacers Kulasekara and Lakmal were the pick of the bowlers, who picked two wickets each. Earlier, West indies captain Holder won the toss and opted to bowl first. His decision paid dividend instantly as pacer Shannon Gabriel picked opener Kusal Perera in the third over of the match. Opener Dhananjaya de Silva then joined by wicket keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, as both put 105 runs for the second wicket before De Silva departed after scoring 55 off 60 balls, which included seven boundaries.
Dickwella was then joined by man of the match Kusal Mendis, as both started to take the game away from West indies, and added crucial 107 runs for the third wicket. Dickwella departed after scoring a responsible 94 off 106 balls, whereas Mendis scored a more fluent 94 off just 73 balls, as Tharanga’s men secured a total of 330 for seven after their allotted 50 overs. For West indies, captain Holder was the pick of the bowler, as he picked three wickets and gave away just 57 runs in his 10 overs.