Giant killing act by Sri Lankans over Windies
CRICKET: Sri Lankans are well-known as giant killers as far as the
game of cricket is concerned. The Lankans have had their 'ups and downs'
and at times the cricketers have come off with stunning performances
that have made the cricket world admire the performances of the team on
that particular day.
The Nehru Cup cricket tournament organised by the Indian Cricket
Board in 1989, saw Sri Lanka pull off a extra-ordinary win against the
West Indies on October 19th 1989. The West Indies came into this game
after beating India and Sri Lanka lost a close match to India by just
six runs. West Indies made 176 for 9 wickets in 50 overs and Sri Lanka
made 180 for six wickets in 47.1 overs.
So, the stage was set for a electrifying contest between the West
Indies and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankans were prepared for the arduous
task. They believed in their skill to restrict the West Indies and it
was this factor that made skipper Arjuna Ranatunga to put the West
Indies to bat after winning the toss.
Athula Samarasekera and Hashan Tillakeratne, were not familiar names
on the cricket world at that stage. The two had played very little
cricket for Sri Lanka. In fact, as batsmen, they had not made any major
contribution to Sri Lanka's fortunes. However, on a very warm day in
Rajkot, these two - Athula Samarasekera and Hashan Tillekeratne turned
out to be the star performers.
The favourites West Indies who fumbled at Sharjah in the Champions
Trophy, had another disastrous beginning here in the Nehru Cup.
With a packed off-side field and bowling concentrated around the off
stump, the batsmen did not have the risk of playing across the line. But
Desmond Haynes and Viv Richards waited for the opportunity to attack.
Even the spinners Asoka de Silva and Aravinda de Silva would have been
surprised by the respect their bowling had from the Windies batsmen.
It happened at one point that the West Indies might not even see a
total of 150 to defend. But Augustine Logie, not certain of playing the
match earlier, scored a valuable 54 not out. Logie is always a crisis
man for the West Indies and he did not fail them for yet another time.
The lofted shots between square leg and mid-wicket yielded quick runs.
That West Indies were able to score 176 in 50 overs reflected on the
ability of the Sri Lankan bowlers, supported by the delightful
outcricket especially from Samarasekera and Tillekeratne.
Probably Sri Lanka would have found a target of 200 plus a tougher
proposition, since the West Indies had the better force to attack. Sri
Lanka was three down for 45, but left-hander Asanka Gurusinha and
skipper Arjuna Ranatunga held the innings together and stemmed the rot.
The pick of the West Indies bowlers was Winston Benjamin. He saw the
early exit of dangerman Aravinda de Silva for just one run. Richards was
given duo respect by both the batsmen.
But Ian Bishop, in his second spell, sprayed all over the wicket and
Gurusinha and Ranatunga worked him behind square leg and helped Sri
Lanka to the target. It was a gusty and graceful knock from Gurusinha
that steered the Lankans to victory. He made 66 and was rightly adjudged
'Man of the Match' by a former Test star G. S. Ramchand, the
Samarasekera and Tillekeratne got the applause in plenty and were in
the middle when moments of triumph came. Gurusinha was bowled by
Benjamin and Richards' fine catch saw the exit of Ranatunga for 34.
Smarasekera (12 not out) and Tillekeratne (10 not out) between them,
would have saved nearly 50 runs when Sri Lanka fielded. They also scored
the required runs for Sri Lanka to accomplish a historical win.
Tillekeratne punched a Carlisle Best delivery to point, and that
clinched the victory.
Sri Lanka's plan worked out well. Ravi Ratnayake, the most
experienced bowler in the side, Graeme Labrooy and Kapila
Wijegunawardena did not err in line and length.
With the pacemen bowling to a set plan, it gave no scope for the West
Indies batsmen to attack. And when a few batsmen did venture for the big
hit, Hashan Tillekeratne in the covers and Athula Samarasekera at
sweeper cover were simply great on the field.
Seldom in the past the powerful West Indies batting line-up had been
under tremendous pressure.
The Windies were struggling against the Sri Lankan attack.
Samarasekera and Tillekeratne were positioned at the right place. They
were superb on the field. Their contribution was immense help to the
D. Haynes c Labrooy b Aravinda de Silva 42
P. Simmons c Asoka de Silva b Ratnayake 7
R. Richardson c Ranatunga b Ratnayake 5
V. Richards b Wijegunaratne 24
G. Logie not out 54
C. Best b Asoka de Silva 6
J. Dujong c Ratnayake b Asoka de Silva 4
W. Benjamin b Wijeguneratne 7
C. Ambrose c Gurusinha b Aravinda de Silva 2
I. Bishop run out 3
C. Walsh not out 13
Extras: (lb-2, w-7) 9
TOTAL: (for 9 wkts in 50 overs) 176
Fall of Wickets: 1-12, 2-20, 3-83, 4-86, 5-96, 6-108,
7-141, 8-144, 9-157.
Bowling: Ratnayake 10-1-36-2, Labrooy 7-0-27-0, A. Ranatunga 3-0-14-0,
R. Wijegunaratne 10-1-27-2, Asoka de Silva 10-0-30-2, Aravinda de Silva 10-1-33-2.
R. Mahanama c Dujon b Benjamin 12
B. Kuruppu c Richards b Bishop 1
A. Gurusinha b Benjamin 66
Aravinda de Silva c Dujon b Benjamin 1
R. Ratnayake c and b Richards 18
A. Ranatunga c Richards b Ambrose 34
A. Samarasekera not out 12
H. Tillekeratne not out 10
Extras: (lb-10, w-2, nb-2) 14
TOTAL: (for 6 wkts in 47.1 overs) 180
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-43, 3-45, 4-80, 5-145, 6-156.
Bowling: Ambrose 10-2-27-1, Bishop 10-1-44-1, Walsh 10-0-35-0, Benjamin 9-0-22-3,
Richards 6-0-23-1, Simmons 2-0-11-0, Best 1-0-4-0.