The champions and great entertainers are out. If the demise of West Indies on Thursday night, confirmed prematurely by a deluge of biblical proportions, was unsatisfactory they had already been swept aside for much of the proceedings on a tide of Sri Lankan skill, experience and doggedness.
When the storm turned the Shere Bangla Stadium into a lake and brought an end to the World Twenty20 semi-final, West Indies were 80 for 4 from 13.5 overs needing 161 to win. Under Duckworth Lewis, they were 28 runs adrift and were thus eliminated from a tournament they had illuminated.
Sri Lanka deserved their win on the play possible and it will be the third time that they have reached the final in five World Twenty20s. They lost the previous two.
It was a long shot that West Indies could have made 81 runs from 37 balls, it would have taken a blaze of stroke play against bowling which had confounded them until then. But if any team were equipped to do it, that team were definitely the West Indies of the last fortnight.
Darren Sammy, nonpareil of finishers, had just come in with scores in his last two matches of 34 from 13 balls and 42 from 20. A repeat of that sort of form would have seen West Indies romp home.
However, they had been subdued to the point of inertia by Sri Lanka’s slow bowlers and undermined by two wickets in an over from the formidable Lasith Malinga. If one of them, Sachithra Senanayake, has a contentious action that should be investigated immediately and preferably before the final on Sunday, it was still an intelligent, stifling performance supported by wholly committed fielding.
West Indies made 17 from the first over of their innings but then only another 17 from the next five. Of the 89 balls they received they failed to score from 38. Perhaps entranced by what their late order hitting had done so far their early order were content to bide their time.
But it is a dangerous game, not least, of course, when there is rain about. Marlon Samuels, 18no from 29 balls, was continuing his struggles with timing.
Sammy said: “There was no panic in the dressing room, we back ourselves. Today would have been a very difficult job but with the remaining batting anything could have been possible. It was God smiling on Sanga and Mahela possibly.”
That was a referenceto Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, both of whom are retiring from T20 after this competition. Between them, they contributed a solitary run to the team’s total on Thursday. Jayawardene was run out before he faced a ball, Sangakkara made a single from eight balls.
The other old warrior, Tillekeratne Dilshan made 39 from 39 balls but was cut off before the dash for the line and there were timely, positive cameos from the young guns. A Sammy finish would still have been delicious. Sri Lanka will play the winners of Friday’s match between India and South Africa. More rain is on the way.