Awesome Fletcher leads West Indies to victory
ANDRE FLETCHER seized the opportunity to open, stroking a stunning 84 not out off 64 balls as West Indies beat defending ICC World T20 champions Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Bangalore.
Fletcher batted through the innings as West Indies reached 127 for three off 18.2 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 122 for nine.
He was called on after the destructive Chris Gayle picked up a hamstring niggle in the field and the word from the dressing room was Gayle would not bat unless absolutely necessary.
Fletcher hit six fours and five sixes as he batted through the innings.
The restless crowd chanted ‘We Want Gayle’ and waved signs, disappointed he did not open. Gayle was denied the chance to bat fourth because he had been off the field too long, and it was Andre Russell (20 not out) who went to the crease and also brought up the winning runs with a six over cover.
Earlier, Thisara Perera helped Sri Lanka to a position of respectability with a fighting 40 and captain Angelo Mathews chipped in with 20.
Spinner Samuel Badree did the damage, taking three for 12 off his four overs and Dwayne Bravo took two for 20, with some very good bowling at the death.
West Indies are now 2-0 and top the tables in Group 1.
In the other match played today, South Africa (205 for five in 20) defeated Afghanistan (172 off 20) by 37 runs.
Sri Lanka 122 for nine in 20 overs (Thisara Perera 40, Angelo Mathews 20, Dinesh Chandimal 16, Tillakaratne Dilshan 12; Samuel Badree 3-12, Dwayne Bravo 2-20). West Indies 127 for three in 18.2 overs (Andre Fletcher 84 n.o., Andre Russell 20 n.o., Johnson Charles 10; Milinda Siriwardana 2-33). West Indies won by seven wickets with ten balls remaining.