Rihanna support not enough for Windies
It was a day late and counted for little in the context of the ICC World Cup, but there was no lack of tension as Sri Lanka fended off the Windies by 23 runs.
Avishka Fernando scored 104 from 103 balls to guide Sri Lanka to 338-6, its highest total of the tournament, and Lasith Malinga took two early wickets to stymie the start of the run chase yesterday. The veteran paceman added another late wicket to all but finish it off and move further up the list of most prolific World Cup bowlers.
The Windies, with some star power support from Rihanna on a blustery, slightly overcast day – no need for shade, or shelter from the rain – made a chase of it but ran out of time and finished on 315-9.
Rihanna’s reaction when Chris Gayle got out – head back in disbelief – summed up the overall feeling of game over at 71-3.
But when Nicholas Pooran (108) and Fabian Allen (51) combined in an 83-run, seventh-wicket stand, the superstar singer from Barbados was back on her feet along with the crowd.
Allen joined Pooran with the total at 199-6 and scored his first one-day international (ODI) 50 from 30 balls, including a six and seven boundaries, before he became the third West Indian run out in the innings. He glanced to leg, decided against a run but then went when Pooran – on 99 – was midway down the pitch. Allen was well short of his ground at the non-striker’s end.
That left the West Indies 282-7 with 35 balls remaining.
Pooran posted his first (ODI) century, was dropped at long-off in the next over, but was finally out caught behind when he chased Angelo Mathew’s first delivery in an ODI since 2017 in the 48th over.
Malinga trapped Oshane Thomas lbw in the penultimate over, getting the decision on review, and joined Wasim Akram at No. 3 on the all-time list of World Cup wicket takers with 55.
In other circumstances, Fernando’s maiden ODI century would have enhanced Sri Lanka’s chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals.
But Sri Lanka’s play-off prospects ended when England beat India at Edgbaston on Sunday, nine days after Sri Lanka’s upset of England opened up the competition.
The Windies were already out of contention after losing four in a row following a confident start to the tournament.
The consolation for Sri Lanka at Riverside was to extend their winning streak in World Cup encounters against the Windies to four, dating to 1996.