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ICC WT20 Rivalries: West Indies V Sri Lanka

The champions of the last two ICC World Twenty20 events are among the most consistent sides in the T20 format despite the unpredictability associated with them. The West Indies is a power-house in the shortest format but Sri Lanka is among the most consistent on the biggest stage, having qualified for the knockouts in four of the five ICC World T20s.

A casual glance at the head-to-head stats indicates that Sri Lanka has the upper hand. It has won six of its eight T20Is against West Indies, with five victories in six ICC World T20 clashes. The rivalry, however, lies in the fact that the lone West Indies win in ICC World T20s came in the final of the 2012 edition, denying Sri Lanka what would have been a title win at home.

Sri Lanka bounced back two years later by winning its maiden ICC World T20 title in Bangladesh, defeating the West Indies in the semifinal. The rivals will resume their battle in the 2016 edition when they clash on March 20 at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.

Match 1: Trent Bridge, 2009 ICC World T20
Result: Sri Lanka won by 15 runs

Sanath Jayasuriya was close to 40 years old when Sri Lanka and West Indies clashed for the first time on the World T20 stage but that didn’t stop him from demolishing the opposition in typical style. Put in to bat, Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan shared an opening partnership of 124 from just 75 balls to give Sri Lanka the best of starts.

Jayasuriya fell after making 81 off 47 balls in a knock studded with 10 fours and three sixes, while Dilshan carried on to score 74 from the same number of deliveries as Sri Lanka posted a massive 192 for 5.

The West Indies was without an injured Chris Gayle but put up a good fight through Dwayne Bravo, who hit 51 from 38 balls. Sri Lanka, however, kept the West Indies to 177 for 5 to win by 15 runs.

Match 2: Semifinal, The Oval, 2009
Result: Sri Lanka won by 57 runs

Dilshan turned the West Indies’ nemesis once again with an unbeaten 57-ball 96 that set up Sri Lanka’s convincing 57-run win in the semifinal of the ICC World T20 2009. West Indies opted to field once again and though it managed to curb Jayasuriya to 24 off 37 balls, it couldn’t stop Dilshan from making merry. On a pitch where most batsmen struggled, Dilshan scored freely, smashing 12 fours and two sixes to take Sri Lanka to 158 for 5.

The West Indies’ chase was derailed in a dramatic first over by Angelo Mathews, who got three wickets. Xavier Marshall, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo were all bowled for nought, and the West Indies never recovered. Gayle fought with a 50-ball 63 but Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis kept striking to bowl the West Indies out for just 101.

Match 3: Barbados, 2010
Result: Sri Lanka won by 57 runs

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara combined, as they have done innumerable times through their career, to give Sri Lanka a big win in a group match of the iCC World T20 2010 against the West Indies. After opting to bat, Sri Lanka lost Jayasuriya early but that would be the only success for the West Indies for a long time there on.

Jayawardene, the opening batsman, and Sangakkara, the No. 3, added 166 runs for the second wicket in just 99 balls to take Sri Lanka to 195 for 3 in its 20 overs. Sangakkara made a sublime 68 from 49 balls while Jayawardene remained unbeaten on 98 from 56 deliveries.

The West Indies’ chase never got going and it managed only 138 for 8, with Mendis and Lasith Malinga picking up three wickets each.

Match 4: Pallekele, 2012
Result: Sri Lanka won by nine wickets

Mendis, Jayawardene and Sangakkara combined once again to deliver yet another easy win for Sri Lanka against the West Indies in a group match of the World T20 2012. The West Indies chose to bat but struggled to get going as Mendis (4-1-12-2), with good help from Nuwan Kulasekara (4-0-28-1) kept it down to 129 for 5, despite good knocks by Marlon Samuels (50) and Bravo (40).

Dilshan fell early in the chase but that would be the only wicket to fall, as Jayawardene (65) and Sangakkara (39) shared an unbeaten stand of 108 for the second wicket to guide Sri Lanka home with 4.4 overs to spare.

Match 5: Colombo, World T20 2012 final
Result: The West Indies won by 36 runs

The West Indies’ only win in World T20s against Sri Lanka couldn’t have come at a better time. The Caribbean side stunned Sri Lanka in a packed R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on the night of October 7 to seal its maiden World T20 title, denying Sri Lanka of what would have been a memorable win in front of its home fans.

It didn’t seem possible for the first 10 overs after the West Indies chose to bat. Sri Lanka called the shots, restricting the opposition to just 32 for 2 after the first half of the innings. But all that changed courtesy a brilliantly paced counterattack by Marlon Samuels. The right-handed batsman made 78 from 56, taking a special liking to Malinga, who conceded 54 runs from four wicketless overs. Add to it a cameo by Darren Sammy (26 not out from 15 balls) and the West Indies suddenly had a total of 137 to bowl with.

The pressure of the final and discipline of the West Indies attack got to Sri Lanka, who struggled for momentum with the bat. Jayawardene (33) and Sangakkara (22) showed some fight but Narine picked 3 for 9 to bowl Sri Lanka out for 101, sealing a historic win that led to celebrations that the cricket world is unlikely to forget anytime soon.

Match 6: Mirpur, World T20 2014 semifinal
Result: Sri Lanka won by 27 runs (D/L method)

The loss in the final of the 2012 edition would have hurt Sri Lanka badly, but it made amends slightly by defeating West Indies in the semifinal of the ICC World T20 2014, which it went on to win.

Sri Lanka chose to bat and made 160 for 6, with contributions from many batsmen. Kusal Perera (29 from 12) and Dilshan (39 from 39) gave good starts while Lahiru Thirimanne (44 from 35) and Mathews (40 from 23) provided the finishing touches despite a slight wobble in the middle.

The target was revised to 108 from 13.5 overs due to rain but the West Indies lost its way when Malinga struck with the wickets of Dwayne Smith and Gayle in the fifth over. Bravo fought with a quickfire 39 but Samuels, the star of the 2012 final, managed only an unbeaten 18 from 29 balls as West Indies was restricted to 80 for 4.

What to expect in World T20 2016

Fireworks. Entertainment. Tight contest. Expect all of these when the two sides meet on March 20 in a Group 1 clash in Bangalore. It is the second match of the tournament for both sides and is likely to be crucial for their qualification hopes, making it even more interesting.

The player to watch out for will undoubtedly be Gayle. The left-handed opening batsman has made the Chinnaswamy stadium a home ground of sorts with his exploits for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, and will have the crowd’s backing. There are numerous other match winners in both sides though, making it a Sunday to look forward to