COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC):
West Indies' final preparations for the World Twenty20 Championship got off to a rocky start when they plunged to a nine-wicket defeat to hosts Sri Lanka in their first official warm-up game here yesterday.
Sent in at the Nondescripts Cricket Club, West Indies were restricted to a meagre 132 for six off their 20 overs, with rookie stroke-maker Johnson Charles top-scoring with 30.
In reply, Sri Lanka coasted behind unbeaten half-centuries from seasoned campaigners Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan, to reach their target with 26 balls remaining.
The result would have been disappointing for West Indies who arrived here this week having been installed as one of the pre-tournament favourites.
With Chris Gayle rested for the encounter, both openers failed. Dwayne Smith was bowled by seamer Nuwan Kulasekara (2-35) with the eighth delivery of the game and Lendl Simmons perished for two in Kulasekara next over with the score on 22.
Dwayne Bravo stroked three boundaries in getting 14 from 16 deliveries as he put on 23 for the third wicket with Charles.
He was getting into stride when he was prised out in the eighth over and Charles followed soon afterward, after also hitting three fours off 26 balls.
The best partnership of the innings then came through Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard who put on 34 for the fifth wicket without being explosive.
Bravo stroked 29 from 31 balls with three fours and Pollard got 28 from 27 balls with two boundaries.
In reply, Sri Lanka started smoothly, thanks to opener Dilshan Munaweera who spanked an enterprising 24 off 22 balls with five fours before falling to seamer Ravi Rampaul in the fifth over at 32 for one.
However, captain Jayawardene was sublime in his 57 off 35 balls, striking six fours and two sixes, while opener Dilshan finished on an even 50 from 38 balls.
West Indies face minnows Afghanistan in their second and final official warm-up game next Monday.